CPD Extra Curricular General

Enjoy: Your First Year

This is the second blog in my Enjoy series. Hopefully by now you have had a chance to Enjoy your First Day and you are looking at the year ahead.

Often we talk about “Surviving our First Year” and I totally understand the sentiment behind that. Sometimes it does feel like survival. But you can also Enjoy your First Year.

My First Year

It was a while ago now, a distant memory in some ways. My first year of teaching was a rollercoaster ride, but I loved every minute of it. What I can’t believe is that I wasn’t much older than the Year 13 class I taught, and I guess I learnt a lot with the students. It was the year that defined so much of who I am today as a teacher. I learnt the hard way at times, but I also learnt by trying and discovering. I enjoyed it so much and I now look back at all I have achieved and I just know that it was all down to that first year. So we must look at how we can Enjoy it, even in these turbulent 2020 days.

Enjoy Your First Year Top Ten

  1. Be comfortable making mistakes. They help you grow and you learn so much from them
  2. Take each day one at a time, it is a marathon, not a sprint. Every day is a fresh start.
  3. Learn from those around you as it is more enjoyable to work in a team or with other colleagues.
  4. Smile as much as you can, it helps the general enjoyment level.
  5. Look for the beautiful classroom moments where students get it and enjoy what you are teaching.
  6. Don’t think that every lesson needs to be perfect. Just do your best and reflect when you can.
  7. Stop working sometimes and keep a good work/life balance. If you start out this way then you will set yourself up well.
  8. Think about the kind of things you want to do in your career and start some fun traditions that you can look back on one day.
  9. Enjoy the fun moments in rehearsals where you get to connect with students and vice-versa.
  10. Ban the word busy and you will generally enjoy life more!

Reality Check

All good ideas above don’t you think. But in reality it can be really hard to Enjoy every moment of your first year. But sometimes you enjoy it more when you come to terms with reality. Sometimes teaching is tough, well often infact. Lessons go badly, students don’t get it and rehearsals seem like a waste of time. It gets tiring, cold and draining. Meetings drag on, documents need completing and senior teachers constantly want you to input data. In your first year you have to plan in much more detail and it feels like you will never quite grasp behaviour.

But why would we want to focus on this. Its good to have a reality check, I do it all the time. But I think it is important that we do try and enjoy every day that we teach. The first year is tough at times. But it is also the first year of having your own class. It is your first chance to try out new ideas, set your own goals and make some memories with students. You are allowed to fail and you are allowed to learn. Enjoyment sometimes comes when we keep things real and don’t let things overwhelm us. When we are honest with ourselves and keep going, we often enjoy life a lot more.

Enjoy Your First Year

So Enjoy your first year. I would say, you are not alone, always remember that. Seek help and advice where you can. But keep smiling and always remember that you are allowed to enjoy it! We have the best job in the world!

Oh and one final tip – Don’t give up, because the real enjoyment is only just starting!

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