The New Year Struggle
The start of a new year is an exciting time for teachers! So many things you want to do with your new class, and get things ‘just right’.
This is the year I will get the kids to diligently maintain a reading journal….
I will fix that storage shelf once and for all…
My students this year will be awesome at looking after their book covers…
We tell ourselves this all through the summer holidays and as the term begins. We are so optimistic and so diligent in teaching our new pupils ‘the way’ of doing things, everything from setting up their maths book pages to where to store their books and equipment.
But usually by the third or fourth week in, THE STRUGGLE begins.
Oh no! I’ve already forgotten to remind them to do that thing that I promised I’d be so diligent about…. and now things look bad!
Darn it! This system isn’t working? Why did I ever thing this would work?
How is it week 4 and I haven’t done a (insert important component) lesson yet!
My god, I haven’t put up those labels/posters/display yet, the term is half way over! I promised I’d be so organised…
Why is everything taking so long to do? Why haven’t they ‘got this’ yet?
I know that I am not alone in thinking these thoughts and living this struggle every day. Heck I know this struggle can last all term, all year!
This year I am working with two temporary teachers experiencing their own class for the whole year for the first or second time. They have already come to me worried about ‘The Struggle’. How do I do it all?! I haven’t had time for…?! My kids just aren’t …!?
WELCOME! I told them. You are now a real teacher. I reassured them that this was normal, and even for people who have taught for 5, 15 or 35 years, we all face the struggle, it’s a regular part of the job these days. Especially these days!
So my advice was –
You will never have EVERYTHING done. Relax and accept that.
There will always be something you really want to do but it has to wait for a blue moon rainy night when there is nothing on Netflix (so, like never).
One KLA /Subject component every term will feel like you are doing a great job, you are smashing the teaching of it! And another area will be really crap and you never feel like you deliver it well. It is almost impossible to have every area fully planned, prepared, on track and bringing amazing results every lesson. Accept this and do the best you can.
Don’t worry about getting it all done. Do less, better. Take time out to look after yourself or you will end up burnt out, and no good for anyone!
Ask others for advice, even for things that seem mundane. Always be on the lookout for an idea that can make your everyday life easier. Surf the net, read blogs, listen to podcasts, hunt pinterest and sneak peek into other teachers’ rooms for ideas. Get specific advice from the experts – like the famous 40 hour teacher work week club.
And sometimes, you just have to roll with a situation, throw an idea/lesson out the window, regroup and restart!