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You Can Survive Your First Year Teaching, Too!

Updated on February 22, 2012


You Can Survive the First Year of Teaching, too!

My first year of teaching special education in a public high school was a sporadic undulation of mixed emotion; if I would have been evaluated by a psychologist, they probably would have thought I was bi-polar with all of the highs and lows. Luckily, I had the most amazing support system that guided me through due process, NCLB, and everything else in the realm of SpEd.

I remember one day in particular~ paperwork was due-progress reports were on my list to complete, long-range plans were due, grades were due, a re-evaluation had to be scheduled with a mother who wanted to bring her attorney, and I had to stay after school for another “first year teacher meeting”. I remember the instructor handing out another binder of papers to complete and while she was going over them, tears started to flow down my cheeks…..I was beyond overwhelmed. While I attended an amazing university that was notorious for education training, I felt ill-equipped. How would I ever be able to do it all?

Luckily, that teacher followed up with me that next day and quite frequently throughout the year to make sure I was OK, answer any questions, and to lend a shoulder to cry on.

I would suggest every first year teacher, regardless of their specialty area, to have a mentor. I talked to my mentor daily, but I also surrounded myself with dedicated teachers in all cross-curricular departments. I took examples from everyone from neophytes to veterans. Also, get organized! Keep a prioritized checklist-crossing off those completed items feels so, so good! Don’t be afraid to ask for help from peers and administrators, they all understand and sometimes don’t know what you are going though until you communicate with them.

If I could get through my first year of teaching, you can too! I moved over 600 miles away from my family, found out I was expecting a child, delivered my child nine weeks early (3lbs. 9oz.), and I was still able to keep up with all of my IEP, re-eval, and conference dates, while writing IEP’s, progress reports, long-range plans, and daily lessons.

As with any job, I would not suggest that anyone “sticks” with it even though they hate it. If you truly “hate” your job, then do what is best for your students and school, and move on. Just know, that people have been there, done that, and have survived….and they are there to share their stories with you and offer insight to help you throughout your journey!

Those who can…..teach!


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    • FreezeFrame34 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Charleston SC

      Thanks! I'm on year number five and still loving every day!

    • JayDeck profile image


      7 years ago from New Jersey

      Congratulations on surviving! I hope your 2nd year is going well.



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