Distance Learning can be hard, especially as a New Teacher. I still remember the day I found out we were going to start the year Distance Learning:
I was scared.
Back then, I was scared that I was going to fail. That my students would learn nothing. Or that I would not be enough. I feared Failure. Eventually, I realized something that made me change my mind. And it gave me the drive to do better.
We are all scared.
I started to think of the Veteran teachers who had been teaching for years. And how they were now terrified because they didn’t know about Google Drive.
I also thought about those New Teachers who came into this year with high hopes of their first year. Only to find out that what they had learned in College would not apply this year.
So I prepared.
I stayed up late and made as many resources as I could that would help other teachers. And I researched ClassDojo and came up with ways to use it for Distance Learning. After that, I set up a training for my school to better prepare them for the months to come.
That was 4 weeks ago.
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Now as a 3rd-year Kindergarten teacher, in her 3rd week of Distance Learning, I can honestly say everything will get better.
I have been Distance Learning for 3 weeks now, and with each week I learn a little more and gain more skills to become an effective teacher. I have helped veteran Teachers and New Teachers.
That is why I want to write this post in honor of the New Teachers who are just starting. I remember how terrified I was my First Year Teaching. And I want you to know that I see you. And here are some important things to keep in mind:
1. Everyone is Starting Over this Year
In my first year, I was obsessed with being the perfect teacher. I wanted to use all the research-based best practices that I had learned in college. I also didn’t want to make a fool of myself in front of the veteran teachers of my school.
This school year, however, everyone is starting over. None of us were trained for this (well maybe except for online college professors). Practices that Veteran Teachers or Experienced Teachers have used are no longer valid. We are all relearning how to teach.
So don’t be afraid to mess up. We are all going to learn from failure this year. That’s why we should embrace it instead of fearing it. Now I’m not saying purposefully do the wrong thing. But like in your classroom, when your students mess up, they learn from it.
Failure is going to be a huge teacher this year. And if we support each other, knowing that no one has the answers, we are going to do amazing things.
2. This is not the ‘Norm’
When I was a New Teacher, I was honestly using the first year of teaching to determine if I was going to be a good teacher or not. If you are a New Teacher this year, please don’t use this year as your make or break for teaching.
This year is weird in itself. There is so much going on. How you perform while Distance Learning DOES NOT reflect on how you’re going to be as a teacher.
There is so much in teaching that we are missing this year. And so much that we are expected to learn. It’s not fair to rate yourself based on how this year goes.
Please, give yourself some grace.
As a New Teacher, this is a BIG one! In my first year of teaching, I was so exhausted and Burnt-out. I was trying so hard to get that endless to-do list tackled, that I never gave myself time to recover.
When I finally had the time to be there for my students, I was exhausted and not being a Present Active Listener for my students.
Know your limits.
I hate to tell you this. But that To-Do List is never going to go away. That’s a huge part of teaching. It’s better to set your limits and boundaries early, then to become burnt out and bitter.
I feel like with Distance Learning especially, I have felt more Burnt-out than usual. That’s why I am starting a Teacher Self-Care Challenge starting September 1st.
September is National Self-Care Month. And I know with Distance Learning, Teachers are going to need to prioritize Self-Care more than ever!
I invite you to take the next month to challenge yourself to some extra love. And I have the 30 Day Challenge Free Download right here.
Bonus: Be Flexible
The Final tip of Advice I have for my New Teachers is to be flexible. I feel like New Teachers Spend so much time planning for Perfection.
And let me tell you, in the last two weeks, things have changed so much. That I’ve learned the best thing to do while Distance Learning is to go with the flow.
Plan the best that you can but know that things probably will (almost guaranteed) change a hundred times.
The best thing you can do amidst the chaos is to show up for your students and be as Present as you can.
Teachers are amazing, and you are amazing! I know that you are going to have an amazing year. And that no matter what the Failure, we will come out of this stronger than we ever have.
What are you worried about while Distance Learning? Any advice that I missed?
The Present Teacher