Dear First Year Teachers,
I know you’re tired.
I know you feel overwhelmed.
I know you’ve thought
a lot about quitting.
But I’m going to ask you for one more thing: when everything else is making you crazy, and you’re worried about your scores, and you’re afraid to ask for help…take time to know your students.
There will never, ever be another group of students that you will love, hate, and love to hate more in your entire career.
I’m not saying that you won’t have amazing relationships with your future students.
Three of my former students brought their parents to meet me at Community Night this week, and those parents each thanked me, in different words, for caring about their kids beyond the classroom.
I’m not saying that there won’t be special ones.
Not every outstanding, successful high school senior remembers their middle school yearbook teacher (and her dad) and greets them with excitement. Only the special ones.
What I’m saying is that these kids, your first-year kids, are the ones you will remember forever.
They are the ones whose first, middle, and last names will never escape you.
The ones whose stories you will tell for years to come, and stories that your best friends will prompt by saying, “Tell them about that one time that Michael…” because they feel like they know each one personally.
The ones you wish you knew what happened to, what they’re doing, how they are, and the ones you never stop worrying about – wondering if they still need you.
The ones who show up the week before they graduate high school to tell you thank you, and do their best to make you cry in front of your current students.
The ones who hug you just as tightly in the grocery store five years after the last time they saw you as they did on the last day of school, who you spend half an hour talking to after a long day in the middle of Homecoming Week.
But most of all, they are the ones who are truly your children. They belong to you, and you belong to them.
So please, please, savor the best part of our jobs. Build relationships. Make connections. Open your heart to these kids and believe in your ability to make their lives better.
Because when all else fails, that’s what life is about.
Love, an 8th year teacher