Once upon a time, in the recent past, I was a first year teacher. All first year teachers at my school are required to take part in a ‘new teacher program’ for their first three years in our district. It’s a fantastic mentoring program that helps new teachers succeed through what many consider to be the most challenging years of teaching. We met every couple of months to discuss events from our classroom and help one another through whatever difficulties we had encountered. It was at one of these meetings that I was first given the chart pictured above.
As I looked over the ‘Phases of First-Year Teachers’ Attitude Toward Teaching’ chart for the first time I remember thinking, “oh my gosh, I’m normal. This is normal.” It was like the moment when you realized you had a quarter in your pocket while walking past the candy machine as a kid. I had hit the educator’s jackpot. As I type this I realize how absolutely silly this sounds, but I swear to you, seeing this diagram was like a saving grace that afternoon. Looking back… I was TOTALLY in the disillusionment phase of the school year, and THAT my friends is where I sit today.
It’s December 19th, 2013. Tomorrow is the last day of school before Christmas break. My high hopes for a snow day tomorrow, after looking at the weather report earlier in the week, have been shattered by the reality of temperatures that are too high for the icy conditions I had dreamed we would wake up to tomorrow morning. So here I sit. Disillusionment. With only one more day to go. Thank goodness I have this diagram pinned to my bulletin board at school. Thank goodness I know I’m normal. Thank goodness for holiday break.
Fellow teachers – we can do this. Only one more day to go. Even though tomorrow is going to feel like the longest day of the year and students will be at their all time worst, just remember, disillusionment in December is totally normal. You are normal, and never forget you are an excellent teacher. Or, you will be, after two weeks to catch up on real life, outside the classroom.