Today, I’m linking up with Laurah J from ESOL Odyssey to tell you about my first year teaching!
What age group and subject were you teaching?
My first year teaching was in one of the best private schools in the nation, in a suburb of Philadelphia. I was very blessed to have been hired! I think the reason I was hired because I was a biologist who could also teach math. The school needed a half time biology, half time math person and I fit the bill. (So if you are a teacher looking for a job, you never know if a really great school is looking for a very specific type of person and you will never know unless you apply!)
I taught 9th grade Geometry and 11th grade Biology. The school had a “Physics First” curriculum, so students took Physics, then Chemistry, then Biology.
What was your first classroom like?
I have never ever had my own classroom. I have dreams about having my own classroom some day. In every year I have taught, in private and then in public for several years, I have always had to share more than one room. My media-cart-turned-mini-classroom was my best friend.
Were you given supplies or materials?
I was! The supplies for the year in math and in science were already ordered and I only purchased a few things that year to supplement what the school already had.
What was the hardest part of your first year of teaching?
The emotional, mind-boggling side of teaching was the hardest part. Even in a wealthy private school setting, the needs of the students are overwhelming. I cried a lot that first year. Even private school students have broken homes, absentee parents, criminal records or family members with criminal records, learning disabilities, and other difficulties that really overwhelmed me as a new teacher. I didn’t sleep well because I constantly tried to brainstorm ways to help particular students succeed who I knew needed my help.
What was the best part of your first year of teaching?
The best part was working with my mentors. My first year I followed two wonderful mentor teachers very closely, one in biology and one in math. They showed me the ropes and made me the teacher I am today! I feel like I received the very best training ever. They gave me all of their teaching materials and encouraged me to do what worked for me and make my own and share with them too. My first year, like every teacher’s first year, was a crash course in teaching but I had such a great support system!
What do you know now that you wish you knew that first year?
If I have one tip to tell new teachers that I wish I had known, I would say to take care of yourself first. I got sick a lot my first year because I wasn’t sleeping, I was working long hours, and I wouldn’t let myself relax on the weekends. Invest in hand sanitizer. Make emergency sub plans for at least 5 sick days. Pick one day during every weekend (Saturday or Sunday) and don’t do any work at all. Make sure to enjoy your family and your friends. It will feel like you never have time to sit down. You definitely need a day of rest!