When I first started teaching, I couldn’t wait to be done with my first year. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my first year, but I couldn’t wait to have the experience under my belt. To think that a whole year of knowledge and expertise would be part of my toolkit for planning great lessons. A whole year of just having tried it and knowing that the second year at least I would have something to rely on other than college. One more year closer to being a veteran. You see, those veterans seemed like they had it all under control, like every lesson was well-planned and smooth. Like their classroom management worked like a dream, like there was nothing that could faze them. Yes, I couldn’t wait to be one of those people.
Now on my 6th year of teaching, I have a few things to confess. I am by now close to being considered a veteran, I think, I don’t quite know when that happens. And I am here to tell you, I still don’t know it all.
I am here to confess that there are days I have no idea of how to fix a lesson or reach a child.
There are days when a lesson blows up spectacularly in my face, even though it was well-planned and well-intentioned.
There are moments in which I want to cry because I am so frustrated with something that happened. There are moments when I cannot wait for the lesson to come to an end because the students and I just need a break from it.
There are moments when I cannot think of the right thing to say or think of the perfect thing to do for a certain child that needs me.
There are days when I carry piles of work home with me, not knowing how I am going to get through it all. In fact this year that has been almost every single day.
There are lessons where even with my experience I cannot seem to get the kids excited about what we are about to cover or learn.
There are days where my words and actions fail me and something I say or do gets completely misconstrued.
There are moments in which I raise my voice rather than explain something calmly.
There are moments where I know I can do better, know I can do more, know that there is a better way to do this.
And yet, being an almost veteran has helped me in one huge way; I know that these are just moments or days. I know that they will pass and that the next moment or day will be so much better. That there is an up whenever there is a down. That there is a way to get better, even if just means admitting that I was not on my best that very day.
So all you new teachers, or even all you veterans, yes having experience makes teaching so much easier but don’t be fooled. We all have those days, we all have those moments, even if we don’t show it, even if we don’t write about it. So remember that the next moment will be better. The next day will be better. Even if you are the only one that believes it.
I am a passionate (female) 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day. First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classroom Back to Our Students Starting Today” will be released this fall from PLPress. Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.