What would you tell a first year teacher?

As part of the revamp of The Utah Teacher– teachers from around the state will be sharing their thoughts on this wonderful, and sometimes complicated, profession. The first guest post comes from Provo teacher and Utah Teacher Fellow, coach Brian Preece. He has over 25 years experience in the classroom and shares what he would tell first year teachers. Take it away coach:

What would you tell a first year teacher?

There is this question bouncing around social media on “what would you tell a first year teacher?”

This causes my own mind to race.

Most young hires won’t last five years these days.  Should I tell them to go full bore, pouring all their time and their soul into every single day knowing that in the end they aren’t likely to last anyway?

Or should I remind them that teaching is more of a marathon then a 100-yard dash?  In a marathon you are indeed moving forward but you have to get through that 26.2 miles so that requires proper pacing.

I was single when I started teaching and that brings different challenges then being married with a family.  I think having my own children gave me new perspectives on teaching and learning and relationships that I wish I knew when I was a young, single first-year teacher. But the advantage of being single was that I had more time and energy to spend on my classroom students.  Each stage in life has its advantages and disadvantages.

I’m not even sure after 28.5 plus years (but who’s counting) that I really am that great of a teacher to give any advice to anyone.  I had a lot of victories, a lot of defeats, a lot of triumphs, a lot of heartbreaks.  I feel as inadequate as I did when I started all of this in 1989.  But it isn’t inadequate totally in a bad way. I just feel that I don’t know everything (I should) and there’s so much to learn.

The coolest thing ever about teaching is that it’s where I met my wife.  She was student teaching in special education. I was plugging along in about year eight of my career as social studies teacher and head wrestling coach. We met, it was love at first sight, and the rest, as they say, is history.

So after a few paragraphs I know I’ve offered nothing.  I’ve got a lot of suggestions running through my head but I just can’t narrow it down to one thing or even a few things.  Okay on further thought I have this and it is very important.  I will capitalize for extra emphasis.

THE THREE (3) MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN THE SCHOOL (IN REGARDS TO HOW IT RUNS) ARE THE MAIN SECRETARY, THE HEAD CUSTODIAN AND THE TECHNOLOGY GURU.  MAKE SURE YOU TREAT THEM WELL BECAUSE THEY WILL BE INVALUABLE TO YOU IN SO MANY WAYS I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO TELL YOU! YOU CAN NEVER THANK THESE PEOPLE ENOUGH BUT TRY.

 

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