And it was a mess.
We’ve been starting school here in America for hundreds of years, and we still can’t get it right. Parents are left out of the communication loop; therefore, students are not prepared. New Teachers and new administration are not supported and cry at some point during their first 2 weeks.
Texts I’ve received this week…
“If crying at school was acceptable, I’d be crying right now.”
“This is so hard. How come I don’t feel prepared.”
Why does school starting cause such panic and strong emotions?
I. Don’t. Know.
Other than in many schools there is extremely high turnover and the average experience of the teachers is under 5 years. We have the blind leading the blind. What can we do? Here’s my starting point. It’s not comprehensive and it defintiely needs work., but here’s where I am today…
1. Support new teachers and administration. Just because a person graduated from college (even with a teaching degree) doesn’t mean they are 100% ready to embark on this journey alone. They need those of with experience to share information, to share strategies, to brainstorm lists, to use our connections to build a network of veteran teachers that will look out for the more novice teachers.
2. Teach our pre-service teachers that they are NOT in this job alone and they won’t be perfect. We need to share our missteps, mistakes, and failures, so that when they mess up (cause we all do) that tomorrow is another day. Resiliency is a necessary skill. We have to learn to screw up and not give up, but screw up and stick with it. And by stick with it I mean not keep trying the screw up, but keep working and trying new things.
3. Grace. Enough said, right? This relates to #2, yet I want to explicitly say– Everyone deserves grace including yourself. We have to learn to give ourselves the grace we give to our students.
4. Work to find a balance. Teaching is hard and important work. But we can’t let it consume our young teachers’ lives. We have to work towards life balance. They need to hang out with friends, have a beer, go for a run, enjoy life away from school…. I believe that working alongside teachers to help them find this balance is an important part of my job.
With this partial list, I’m signing off.
What do you do to support new teachers and administrators?