It seems just like yesterday you were registering for Education classes for your first college semester. You felt excited but nervous about this new setting filled with unfamiliar faces. And now . . . it’s happening all over again as you start your first year teaching!
With questions swirling around your head and multiple students requiring your attention, you often forget to take a break. You may be physically and emotionally exhausted, but you’ve gotten used to new surroundings and routines in the past. Take a moment to think about the problems you’re facing right now.
1) Why am I feeling insecure in my own classroom?
Starting any new task can be daunting, but teaching is a complex skill that you will continuously improve over time. It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed in the first weeks and even years teaching.
A great step to feeling more confident is to accept that mistakes are part of the learning process. Isn’t this a lesson you want your students to master as well? Some days will be successful with lots of learning taking place, while other lessons don’t pan out as you planned. Write down your feelings in a journal and include a list of changes you’ll make in the future.
2) What can I do if my students aren’t engaged in my lessons?
When you spend lots of time prepping for your lesson, it’s discouraging if the students seem disconnected. Don’t take it personally, and realize that students have a wide range of interests.
Try to step outside of your comfort zone. Could you turn your test review into a game next time? How about creating a song about your latest topic. You may be surprised at the level of engagement you receive!
3) Where can I go for new ideas and support?
Just when you think you’re all out of ideas, remember there’s an abundance of resources all around you–your colleagues! Asking for help from veteran teachers is one of the easiest ways to receive support.
Next time you’re feeling confused or overwhelmed, try a little knock on the classroom next door. I guarantee the teacher will be happy to help–they’ve been there before.