How two Teachers.Net teachers helped me survive my first year teaching.
Posted by Malinda "EMA" Sund on the Teacher Chatboard
Regular Feature in the Gazette
October 1, 2008
I had interviewed with a principal of a middle school in Las Vegas, Nevada over the telephone and was offered a job teaching 6th grade Reading. The principal gave me 48 hours to decide. I took the job and moved 2000 miles from my home in Georgia to take my first teaching position at a year-round inner-city school in Las Vegas.
I was told that I would have a mentor, and lots of first-year teacher support. What I got was overcrowded classes and anything but support.
My fifth period class had a first day total of 47 students, the 6th period topped out at 53. One of the VPs actually yelled at me when she visited the 6th period class because I had students sitting on the floor. She admonished that I should have called for extra desks! That day is a blur and I'm sure a lot of details have been purposely blocked out, but I do remember thinking that I was going to go home, pack up all my belongings and drive back home and not look back.
I recall posting on Teachers. Net about my dilemma. An angel named Sylvia from California posted back, then she phoned me and we had a long talk. I actually got to meet Sylvia a couple of years later. I will always credit her for keeping me sane that first year.
There is another tnetter who gave me some advice that first year, though I did not appreciate it or truly understand it at first. A middle school creative writing teacher from Virginia named Cheryl told me that I shouldn't be spending so much time on school related tasks, and that I was not to stay so long after school. I often found myself at school way past 7:00 pm, and I was neglecting my own child, then a 8th grader, who was often home alone. I thought Cheryl couldn't possibly understand what I was going through. Later, it would take me awhile as I can be very stubborn, I realized Cheryl was right and I finally started implementing her advice and suggestions. Cheryl helped me get through that first year too.
Although I've lost touch with Sylvia, I think of her often and hope she is doing well. Cheryl and I have yet to meet in person, but we are in communication with each other and keep in touch often. She has remained a good friend through all these years.
I left teaching after five years, but I know that I would have left a lot earlier had Sylvia and Cheryl not been available via Teachers.Net to help me through that horrific first year.
Thank you, Sylvia! Thank you, Cheryl! And thank you, Teachers.Net!