Ask for help if you need it.
All people who are new to the classroom need help and advice from others.
You have decided that you had something of value to give to others so you decided to become a teacher. Whether in an elementary school in Toronto, a high school in Boston, a kindergarten in Glasgow or a language school in Seoul, new teachers inevitably need help.
Teaching can be a daunting task even for those who have years of experience. There are a million balls to juggle every day not to mention lots of fires to put out in the course of a week. It can easily become overwhelming.
Lesson planning, school events, children with behavior problems, learning challenges and health issues, meeting, committees, parent emails and calls… I could go on, but I won’t.
There are those out there who hold a great sense of pride. People who love the challenge of trying to figure something out for themselves. I commend those people, but sometimes it makes sense to just stop and ask someone for help.
If you are dealing with an unhappy parent because their child got pantsed (had their pants pulled down unexpectedly by another student) at recess and you have no idea where to start, that teacher next door with 20 years in the classroom has probably dealt with the same situation before. Ask them what to say to the parent. Ask them about next steps.
You have a needy student who is a disruptive attention seeker and you have no idea what to do, ask your colleagues, school counselor or Vice Principal.
I bet they have some very effective strategies to help you in a situation like that.
If you are struggling in the classroom and feel overwhelmed never feel ashamed or embarrassed. I have been standing at the front of a classroom since 2002 and still feel overwhelmed from time to time. When I was a new teacher I felt that way every day.
Even today, when I have a serious problem with a student I always communicate with my school’s support teams. I absolutely seek advice from others. Not only does it make my day “easier” so to speak, but I know that the students under my care will get more of the support they need and deserve.
About the Author:
Kevin O’Shea is an IB/PYP educator currently based in Beijing, China. He is a father, husband, and avid conservationist. Kevin is also the host of the upcoming Making Better Teachers Podcast as well as the host of the long-running Just Japan Podcast.