“Growing up means adapting Puzzling at your world and your place. When I'm more mature, I'll feel totally secure." ~ When I Am Older from Frozen
Lately, I’ve seen a lot of memes on social media stating, “Every teacher is beginning their first year of teaching again.” While I understand that the point of these memes is to remind teachers to be patient and understanding as we face so many unknowns, I’m overcome with a sense of dread each time I see one. I still cringe when I think of all the mistakes I made in my first year of teaching. Asking me to be a first-year teacher again is like being asked to relive the awkward years of middle school. Yikes! Instead, I’ve decided I will use one word to serve as my guide for this unprecedented school year-“Trust”.
Tomorrow, I will begin my 20th year of teaching. This means that I have 19 years of personal and professional growth, challenges conquered, and knowledge gained. I have learned to plan well, but to be ready to modify plans in an instant if needed. While I had a steep learning curve with distance learning last year, I met the challenges head-on. I have also reflected on my shortfalls in my distance learning approach and have attended professional development this summer to build my skills and knowledge in the areas needed. I will place my trust in these past experiences to serve as my guide for the year ahead. I also must rely on my professional learning communities for support. I know that I can depend on my Woodlake enrichment team, Red Stick Orff, LMEA, AOSA, NAfME, LASTOY, and NNSTOY for advice, guidance, and encouragement. I will trust in the knowledge of my fellow educators.
While I know that patience and understanding will be needed this year, I will go forth and teach with confidence as I will trust in my expertise. Yes, this will be a school year like no other. However, I can face and overcome any challenge as my 19 years of teaching will testify. As Olaf sings in Frozen 2, “When I’m more mature, I’ll feel totally secure.” As for all of the first-year teachers, I’m here for you. I’ll gladly serve as a mentor, guide, and cheerleader. More importantly, I will help you learn to trust in yourself and your capabilities. We’ve got this. Trust me!