Are you a new teacher? Do you feel prepared? No teacher education class fully prepares you for your first teaching job. Nobody can full convey what it is like to be a good, competent teacher. If you are a new teacher, you have now figured out that nothing prepared you completely for that first day, first week, and first year. Below is what many teachers experience. Be sure and read our Teaching Help article as well.
Teaching is Hard Work: Nothing prepares you fully for the amount physical and mental effort it takes to teach. You are now in charge. You are the teacher who must do all the leg work as far as planning, teaching, and grading. But this is only half of it. The rest of your full days will be spent on the phone with parents, helping students, attending meetings, and probably being a member of a committee or two. Teaching is Exhausting and teaching can become an addiction. When not in school, your mind will wander to your students.
A good teacher will always be on the lookout for teaching ideas while shopping and doing recreational activities. It will become an addiction. Eventually, every place you go will be fair game for teaching idea. You will see children in public and have the urge to get them on task or to scold them about rules. Teaching will take over your soul.
Your Home May Become an Extension of Your Classroom: Piled high will be papers, folders, teaching ideas, etc.
Teaching is not like the Movies: There will no magic words or insightful visuals for you to instantly engage and enamor your students with. Teaching will involve a set curriculum. You will have to discipline. You will get frustrated. You will not be able to toss out state-standards in favor of putting on a show or some other movie-fantasy episode.
Teaching is not like the Movies Part II: Inner city schools are not as bad as portrayed, luckily. I was a high school teacher in a large inner city school. People use to ooooooooh when I told them. If you expected a war zone, you will be pleasantly surprised at the lack of day to day violence. Even the worst schools seldom experience anything to be afraid of. Don't be afraid to teach at a large or inner city school.
Teaching Will be Fun!: There will be days that go so smoothly and with real learning. You will be amazed that you actually get paid for this!
Teaching Will be Not be Fun! There will be days where nothing goes right. You will feel like a failure. You will wonder if they can ever pay you enough! You will even feel like quitting.
You Will Need Help: And lots of it. Get it quick and often. You cannot teach alone. You may feel as if you are Superman (or super teacher), but we all have our Kryptonite. Any teacher who expects to go it alone will be a complete failure eventually. You need different teaching ideas. You need the camaraderie. Each and every classroom problem and situation you experience has been solved before. But also realize that you will have to decide what works best for you. Which leads to the next statement.
No Teacher has all the Answers: You as a teacher will decide what works. You cannot take one teacher's idea and expect it to work for you every time. Every classroom and teaching situation is unique. Take teaching ideas and alter them to work for you. But just because it works for one teacher in one classroom, does not mean it will work for you.
Every Teacher has One Good Idea: What this means is that there is not just one teacher that has all the answers. But each teacher will actually have different ideas. Only one of which may work for you. Some teachers love taking new teachers aside to spell out everything that they do that works. Then expect you to follow it to the letter . And convince you that if you do, you will magically have a great classroom. Doesn't work that way, unfortunately.
And last but not least: Teaching is On-The-Job-Training The only thing that will really make you a good teacher is learning and growing as you go along. If you stick with it, you will become a master teacher, and all the little nuances that go with teaching will be second nature. And it will be fun. It will be the best job you could ever imagine.
New Teachers may get the Worst Classes: This is teaching's dirty little secret. The worst classes and subjects can get dumped on new teachers. Teachers feel they have earned the right to easy and cherry-picked classes for their longevity. When you think about it, it's actually a little backward. The worst and toughest classes should go to those with the most experience. If you are a new teacher, be prepared for this jolt.
Teaching May not be Your Calling: No shame in feeling like you can't continue. New teachers can have mixed feelings about teaching. Many do not last. If you are really serious that teaching is just not for you, quit. Do not try and hang on, knowing full well you really hate it. Again, teaching is not for everybody. Sadly, this is one topic missing in teacher education classes. It should be the first thing you hear--teaching can be a very tough job. New teacher attrition rates are quite high. Teachers who leave, usually will leave well before five years.