Dear New Teachers: An Open Letter to New & New-ish Teachers Starting Out

11 years ago, when I was hired 15 minutes before Meet-the-Teacher Night, I was overcome with excitement and honestly, pure terror. The teacher, who was…

11 years ago, when I was hired 15 minutes before Meet-the-Teacher Night, I was overcome with excitement and honestly, pure terror. The teacher, who was assigned to my classroom had decorated it with the cutest decorations and sent out postcards to the kids to introduce herself, decided that she wanted to transfer back to her previous school that morning. And so, I walked into a fully decorated classroom and met students who thought I was someone else.

The night actually turned out great and my excitement helped calm my nerves. It was only until the next day that it hit me. My classroom was completely EMPTY except for the furniture, the mandatory school signs, and the name plates that were left behind. 

Everything that I had bought and saved up from the Teacher Section at Dollar Tree was in a big plastic bag and that was it.

Teachers from across grade levels at my school then began dropping off decorations at my door, and I happily and gratefully hung them on my walls. No specific theme, just whatever that worked to help run an organized classroom.

Those were the days of NO PINTEREST, NO FACEBOOK GROUPS, and NO INSTAGRAM. There were few teacher blogs around, and seriously I didn’t even know of them because I had not even of such a thing until much much later (silly me). But with the limited digital and instant source of ideas at my fingertips, I didn’t really feel pressure one way or another my first year of teaching to buy or have much.

My classroom was decorated, but according to today’s standards, it was pretty empty and plain. However, I had one of the most memorable years in that classroom with my students and wouldn’t change it for the world! 

For new teachers today, it’s different. Way different. And I get it. While it’s inspiring and exciting to see so many ideas for your classroom, it can literally be OVERWHELMING! Everywhere you look, the bar for teaching has risen so high with so much talent, creativity, and innovation, that you can’t help but to question your own talent and creativity. I know, because even after all these years I still doubt and question my own ability. 

But, what I want you to know is that you are ENOUGH. Yes. YOU ARE ENOUGH. 

Beautiful decorations are nice to have. Bright colored bins are pretty and eye-catching. Laminated colorful supply labels make your classroom very organized. But none of that can replace a GOOD teacher. To get to this point in your life, you have had to complete hours of observations in the classroom, hours of volunteer work with children, passed amazingly hard college and state exams, and jumped over unbelievable hurdles to receive your own classroom. You GOT this. You are ENOUGH.
Don’t feel overwhelmed and intimidated with what’s out on only display on social media. Know that what is posted on teacher accounts and profiles mostly relate and pertain to ideas and resources for all teachers because they are afterall, teaching accounts. You do not have to have all those things to be a GREAT teacher. 

You just have to do the best you can everyday with your own students. That is the most important thing of all!

So don’t feel intimidated or pressured in anyway. You GOT THIS. You really do.