Dear Veteran Teachers

Dear Veteran Teachers,

I had the honor, privilege, and joy to serve with our phenomenal PL team and an amazing group of teacher leaders as we welcomed our district’s First Year Teachers this past Friday. BEST DAY EVER! I truly wish every experienced educator had access to this reflective time machine to catch a glimpse of what we all must have looked like on our first day of professional learning.

I will be honest. I remember NONE of the content from my first day. ZERO. I remember what I wore because it was the only thing that fit me at 36 weeks pregnant. I remember that I was distracted because the first day of inservice was also my grandfather’s funeral- I both could not spare any extra days off and wasn’t cleared to travel. And I remember being worried about whether or not I would be able to make this teaching thing work.

I also remember my principal making sure I had a comfortable chair for the day. My department head showing up for new teacher orientation to meet me when he didn’t have to. I remember sitting with Shanna and she promised to “show me the ropes” because she had taught since January and had figured a few things out. I remember that I left more excited than scared.

Last Friday, our newbies were wide-eyed, anxious, distracted, hopeful, grateful, and excited…it is a familiar mix of emotions as they ready themselves for their first classrooms.

But…they aren’t only excited/anxious about meeting their students-they can’t wait to meet YOU: to be on your team, to learn from your expertise, to build relationships with you, to contribute what they know.

I hope you won’t mind that I spoke for all of us when I told them that we were excited to share what we know and are open to new ideas as they share all the things that they have learned. I told them that we would be available for questions, and cry sessions, and celebrations. I let them know that they would find a place on our teams where they belong, are valued, and welcomed.

I NEVER would have survived my first year of teaching without Mary Edwards, Gail Knight, Jackie McBroom, Jennifer Reynolds, Shanna Mathe, and Cassie Miller. NEVER. They were (and are) my teachers, my friends, my sounding boards, my therapists, my mentors, and my lifeline.

Shanna, Jennifer and I celebrating Jackie’s new book!

I encourage you to take a minute to jot down some memories from your first year (with all the gory details) so you can share how you survived with the newbies on your team. They need to see that we are still excited, that we still can’t sleep before the first day, that we get nervous before a big test that we aren’t taking, and that we feel so privileged to GET to work with these amazing kids every single day!

Teaching is hard. It is harder your first year. It is nearly impossible without a great team!

So grateful to have such great teams to work alongside. So excited about the possibilities we are creating for students. So proud of ever teacher I know who links arms and shows up to make a difference for children every day. You are my heroes! You are the hero for your students! And this year…you may be lucky enough to be the hero for a new teacher!

Still Learning,