Dear First Year Teachers,
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. This was supposed to be the most exciting time in your professional lives: graduating college, securing your first teaching job, and seeing your very own classroom for the first time. I’m sure you’ve been creating this image in your mind of what your first teaching experience was going to be. What you’re about to experience is going to be nothing like teaching should be.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. You weren’t supposed to be worrying about picking out your own personal protective wear. Instead, you should be walking up and down the back to school section at Target filling up your red cart with sharpies, expos, flair pens, pencils, and post-its for your students to be sharing.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. You weren’t supposed to be walking around your room with a yardstick, ensuring all your desks are 6 feet apart. Instead, you should be able to experience the joy of watching your students excitedly collaborate in desk groups.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. You weren’t supposed to have your Meet the Teacher night through a computer screen. Instead, you should be eagerly standing outside your classroom, waiting to hug, shake hands, and greet your new students with a warm smile….without worrying about getting sick.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. You weren’t supposed to manage half of your class online and the other half in-person. Instead, you should be in your classroom with your entire class together: forming relationships, learning about each other, and learning from each other.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. You weren’t supposed to be creating a classroom library system where students have to wait 72 hours to ensure that the next book they want to read was completely safe and disinfected. Instead, you should be witnessing students excitedly swapping and sharing books with each other as they expand their reading horizons.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. You weren’t supposed to be moving every single piece of furniture out of your classroom to ensure you could accommodate the max amount of students while maintaining social distancing. Instead, you should be finding the perfect place for your kidney bean table for guided reading groups. You should be excited to bring in different flex seating options for all your students to share.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I’m sorry that your first year in education is happening during Covid 19. But…you still are going to get to see amazing things; you’re going to witness, and be a part of, what teachers do best: stepping up for kids, no matter the circumstance. Hang in there, find your teacher tribe, and remember….we’re all first year teachers this year.