Think back to your first year in education and your experiences in the classroom. It was probably one of the hardest years of your professional life and by October, you might have been asking yourself, “what am I doing here?” In my case, I think I cried at least once a month if not more.
A recent National Public Radio (NPR) story stated that teachers new to the profession start the year with energy, fresh ideas, and the hope they can make an impact. However, by 6-7 weeks later or by the time October rolls around, they are fatigued with lesson plans, benchmark testing, parent conferences and mid-semester grades. The NPR story quotes the New Teacher Center to describe October as the “disillusionment phase” of a new teacher’s professional career. But the story does provide a strategy to help our new teachers: adding words of encouragement, whether through a positive email, a cup of coffee or tea to help build a relationship or even a simple offer to share a best practice–these can all make a huge impact.
A simple gesture of encouragement–how easy that is! It wouldn’t take any money from a school’s budget, but it could mean encouraging your good first-year teacher to become better and could even help secure that teacher’s return next year. So here’s a short term goal for you, whether you are an administrator or a teacher: help your colleagues make it to Thanksgiving with a word of encouragement.
Thank you for your passion, and Happy Halloween to ALL!