Ten things every new teacher should know

5. Many times, you’ll find yourself alone.

“I wish I had been told that classroom management was more important than teaching skills and that I would be left alone in a classroom, without administrative support, to manage emotionally disturbed, learning disabled, … and brilliant students [together]. … Much more instruction on the political aspects of attempting to manage a classroom would have been very useful. I have taught in a school where there was administrative support and in a school where there was none. In the school where there was no administrative support, a few students … were able to limit the learning of the remainder of the class to a 37-percent pass rate. More like 60 percent passed with administrative support. As a veteran of 10 years of teaching, I love teaching, but after the last year of no support, I have chosen retirement rather than further abuse at the hands of … unsupportive administration.” —Brenda Hayes

“They should have told me that I would get zero help from … administrators and most parents.” —Barbara Lipston

4. Students are not your BFFs.

“[I wish I had been told] that I was now going to be a professional and I was not hired to be the student’s friend. I was hired to be an adult, [providing] steadying influence and direction in the classroom. I have to deserve and demand respect, at all times, from my students. If I respect my students and my students respect me, we can develop a relationship that will do justice to/for my students, and I will be fulfilled and proud. Unfortunately, now and then, beginning teachers do not understand the above. Someone tells them they must be friends with and must make their students like them. I have had students [whom] I struggled with for four years, return and thank me for what I did. Oddly enough, they don’t stop and talk to the teachers that treated them as ‘buddies.’” —Bob Icenogle

Meris Stansbury

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