Being a new teacher is both exciting and exhausting. Every day is a learning experience. But being a mentor to a new teacher is a very rewarding experience and us veteran teachers can learn so much from teachers that are new to the profession as well! What an honor I have again this year to be guiding a fellow language teacher that is returning to the profession after 10 years. She is seasoned, yet eager to learn new things. She is caring, yet always wanting to find better ways to connect with her students.
What advice can you give a new teacher as to the priority or focus for energy as they begin their careers?
I would say to spend time and focus some of your energy on connecting with parents, teachers and your students. Get to know people in the building, make new friends, work to make connections both in your department, outside your department and outside the school. Making connections is so beneficial on so many levels: leads to better cooperation between home and school, more effort and buy-in from the part of the students and a more connected, enjoyable, "I like coming to class feeling" everyday for everyone. It also offers you multiple resources when you need answers, support, or guidance, or volunteers for class activities.
I thing of the movie Mr. Holland's Opus when one of his past students pays him tribute and states:
There is not a life in this room that you have not touched, and each of us is a better person because of you. We are your symphony Mr. Holland. We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. We are the music of your life.”
Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995) – Adult Gertrude Lang (Joanna Gleason)
I hope that this happens to all of us one day before we leave the field of teaching. What a honor and tribute to occur to all of our dedicated teaching careers!