So you made through the endless classes, readings, papers, the practicums, the graduation ceremony, the interviews, the questions, the staff meetings… and now here you are on your first day as a teacher.
I know you said a while back that you would never be a teacher, that it was something you just could not see yourself pursuing in your life. Then you saw a third grader’s eyes light up when he realized reading was not as hard as he thought. You watched that little red-headed fifth grader pass a math test for the first time in her educational career. You felt your heart leap when the struggling students in the course you helped teach in college finally understood the lesson. That is why you are here.
You have worked so hard to get where you are. You are stubborn, over scheduled, and oftentimes overworked, but you have given everything to be where you are today. You are standing in the classroom you have been dreaming up since you made your siblings play “school” on the kitchen floor as toddlers. This is what you have worked for. This is the race you have trained for. It’s all come down to this.
In about five minutes, your first class is going to walk through that door. It won’t be easy (you wouldn’t enjoy it if there wasn’t some form of a challenge), and sometimes you will want to quit. Yet you and I both know you’ve got this.
Remember to relax, though! If you are anything like you are now, you work way too hard with no breaks. Give it your all, but please ease up on yourself. You are not going to get it right the first time. No one ever does. Let yourself learn. Let yourself adjust. You have all the skills you need, all the basic knowledge to get started. Now you just have to do it. Trust yourself to do what you need to do.
Your goal is to help students learn not just the facts but to learn about themselves. Literature can be as deep or a shallow as you want-it’s how you pursue it that makes the difference. For you it opened doors for self expression, dreams, healing, and, eventually, a career. Help your students explore and learn how to harness this power.
This is going to be the adventure of your life. I trust you. You should trust you, too.
Take a deep breath.
Go get ’em, kid!