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  • Beth Ott

Dear New Teacher

Updated: Nov 26, 2019

[An open letter to all new or newish teachers from someone who's been there.]


I see you, getting your classroom ready, organizing your things, rearranging your furniture. I see your eyes bright and full of new ideas. I see you at work before anyone is there, and long into the night, your music playing as you organize your desk. I see you.

You just finished your teacher prep program. Learned all the things. Student taught and rocked it. You even taught your own class for a couple of weeks, or maybe even a quarter. I know you think you know all the best practices because you were just taught them. But there is just so much that prep programs and teacher trainings can’t prepare you for. And it’s impossible to prepare for something that you don’t even know is coming.

You won’t be prepared when a student walks into your classroom one early morning with a trash bag full of their only belongings because they were kicked out of their foster home.

You won’t be prepared for that first meeting with a student’s parents who scream and yell at you for not helping their child.

You won’t be prepared to have difficult conversations, trying to help students make sense of inequity, hurt feelings, and loss.

You won’t be prepared to spend most of your time on paperwork, and meetings, and initiatives and e-mails, when you thought you would be teaching.

You won’t be prepared to feel completely and utterly overwhelmed.

Breathe.

Just Breathe. Because you won’t be prepared for your heart to live outside of your chest every day.

You won’t be prepared when you see a peer finally sit with your lonely student at lunch.

You won’t be prepared to share tears at family meetings.

You won’t be prepared when you see that light bulb go off over a students head when they finally understand something.

You won’t be prepared to meet your teacher bff, and finally find someone who can relate.

You won’t be prepared to feel completely and utterly fulfilled.

Breathe.


Just Breathe. Because you won’t be prepared for any of it. And just knowing that will help you be prepared for anything.

You got this. Because we’ve got you.

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