- The first year in a classroom for any teacher can feel like a rollercoaster.
- There are many ways we can support the new teachers in our schools, such as by providing a mentorship program.
The journey of a new teacher is an exhilarating and challenging experience. The first year in the classroom often sets the stage for a lifetime of growth and development. As with any profession, teachers go through various stages regarding their attitude toward teaching. This blog will delve into the stages a new teacher typically experiences during their first year, exploring the highs and lows and providing insights into how they can navigate this transformative period.
New teachers have boundless enthusiasm and optimism at the beginning of the year as they enter their classrooms, armed with fresh ideas, innovative teaching methods, and a genuine passion for making a difference in the lives of their students. The initial days are a whirlwind of excitement as they set up their classrooms, create lesson plans, and eagerly await the arrival of their students. Some call this the anticipation stage.
Find out: Why do teachers love being teachers?
Reality often sets in during the first few weeks of teaching. New teachers face the challenges of managing a classroom, understanding diverse student needs, and adapting their lesson plans on the fly. They may encounter disciplinary issues or experience their first lesson plan failures, leaving them feeling panicky. They are trying to balance being an engaging teacher and managing administrative tasks like grading, answering parent emails, and attending school-wide meetings. In this stage, new teachers are in survival mode, trying to tread water and stay afloat. It can be overwhelming and demoralizing, causing doubts and self-reflection.
This stage on the first year's rollercoaster is often called the disillusionment phase and occurs from November through December. At this point, new teachers are starting to feel the weight on their shoulders. Grading might be piling up, the first quarter grades are due, they're prepping for their first formal observation by a lead coach or admin, and they're preparing for their first parent-teacher conferences. On top of all this, students start pushing boundaries, and classroom management has become an issue. This phase is the most challenging few months for the first-year teacher and typically comes with self-doubt, lower confidence, and emotional dysregulation.
As new teachers return from a much-needed winter break where they rest and spend time with friends and family, they enter the rejuvenation phase. This stage brings renewed hope as they've had time to step back and look at the big picture. They've had time to organize, plan and think about the next semester of the year while embracing a growth mindset, recognizing that teaching is an ongoing learning process. New teachers might seek professional development opportunities, collaborate with colleagues, and experiment with innovative teaching techniques. This stage marks a significant shift in their attitude toward teaching as they strive for continuous improvement.
Towards the end of the first year, new teachers may feel a sense of pride and accomplishment as they prepare to wrap up the year. This is a great time to review how the year went with their new teacher mentors, discuss their capabilities, the highs and lows, and set a plan for the following year. By the time educators get to this stage they can reflect with newfound confidence and a deep sense of fulfillment while thinking about what's to come in the year ahead.
The first year as a new teacher is a rollercoaster ride filled with ups and downs. It is a transformative period that shapes the attitudes and approaches of educators. By understanding new teachers' stages and challenges, we can provide support, resources, and mentorship to help them navigate this critical year successfully. With time, experience, and supportive mentors providing helpful feedback throughout the year, new teachers can evolve into confident and impactful educators, making a positive difference in the lives of their students.
Author: Whitney Ballantine
Posted: 24 May 2023
Estimated time to read: 4 mins