17 Things They Didn’t Tell You About Becoming a Teacher

I just launched a YouTube Channel called the New Teacher Academy. It will be a blend of inspiration, humor, and practical advice for new teachers who want to innovate and experiment in their classrooms. Here is the initial kick-off video. Feel free to like it, share it, and comment on it.

17 Things They Didn’t Tell You About Your First Year of Teaching

Congratulations. You are about to enter one of the most noble professions in the world. Here are 17 things you may not have known before you started:

1. During the first week of school, your feet are going to hurt. Like, really, really bad.
2. You will rediscover the joy of simple things, like smelly markers. (Seriously awesome)
3. You will have teacher nightmares the month before you start. We all get them. It’s totally normal. And, no, they never really go away.
4. But some of those nightmares will become a reality. Because you’re going to fail. Hard. But each mistake is another iteration closer to success. So, keep experimenting.
5. You will cry in your car. Or at your desk. Or maybe even both. Even if you don’t think you’re a crier, you’re going to cry.
6. You will yell at your class. You will apologize. And they’ll amaze you with how quick they are to forgive.
7. But here’s the thing. You’re going to have amazing lessons and you’ll shock yourself with how awesome you are.
8. You’re going to put on weight. It’s like the freshman fifteen, except it might be 20 or 25.
9. From this year forward, you are going to be stuck watching the same Bloodborne Pathogen video year after year after year.
10. You will leave your lunch at home and eat it from the vending machine. You’ll convince yourself that Cheetos and Cheez-Its constitute a healthy serving of dairy.
11. You’re going to fall asleep at 5:00 in the evening with a stack of papers on your kitchen table and an empty carton of Ben and Jerry’s. Which also might explain the freshman fifteen.
12. You’re going to try to do too much and try too hard and that’s okay. Just give yourself permission to rest. Watch a movie. Read a book. File some of your papers in that cylinder bin next to your desk.
13. Your kids are going to blow you away with their work and their ideas and their growth and you’ll feel like the luckiest person alive. And you’ll be right. But what you’ll miss is that the students in your room? They’re the luckiest people in the world as well.
14. You will worry about your students. Some of their stories will break your heart. You will think about them and if you’re a spiritual person, you’ll pray for them. And then you will go back and you will listen to that child and affirm that child and teach that child and love that child when no other adult else in their world can do that. Because you are a teacher and that’s what you do.
15. Someday the kids in your class will come back and invite you to their college graduation and hand you a thank you note and you’ll cry in your car just like you did in the first year of teaching. Except this time it will be tears of joy.
16. You will impact lives in ways that you can’t even imagine. You will inspire students to be better people and deeper thinkers than they could have ever imagined before. They will feel safe and loved and challenged. 17.And the world will be a better place. Because of you.

John Spencer

My goal is simple. I want to make something each day. Sometimes I make things. Sometimes I make a difference. On a good day, I get to do both.

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