You’d think my first day of school would start out with greeting children and giving lessons. But no, obviously, being a teacher has its perks. You get to start a few weeks early.
I started my career as a teacher, and I’m just two days in. And let me tell you, one hour is enough to know what you’re dealing with. That is, only if you have a faculty meeting in that hour.
Going back to school as a teacher, I thought I’d have a different experience; not the ones the usual school children have where bullying, pressure and classwork were part of everyday routine. You’d think all teachers either knew each other or worked professionally associating only with the students, parents and administrators. But no, that’s not the case. There’s a particular look every new member of the faculty has; they sit in the outer chairs of a faculty meeting, they’re the least rowdy of the bunch, and they seem to have nothing to say for hours on end. They’re usually the ones being picked on to be gophers for the old-timers.
I’m not trying to denounce my school or seem disloyal, but from a moral standpoint, doesn’t everyone have the responsibility of denouncing something when it’s absolutely wrong?
We’re teachers, and while it may sound easy, it’s not. It’s probably one of the most challenging jobs in the world. You aren’t doing things on your own, you don’t just have a company in your hands, or your boss’s temperament: you have the children’s future, a principal’s legacy and a school’s reputation to uphold. But it’s so easy to get lost in the politics that rose up in any place where status if everything. Where there’s competition, there’s politics. The gossip is endless, the stares, the cliques. It’s like imagining middle, and high school all over again. You can’t escape.
So you know what? For all you introvert newbies out there, ready to teach in schools, here are some handy pieces of advice I’d love you to have:
- Don’t give details about yourself on your first day. Just the basics: who you are and what you’re teaching. Try to avoid talking more about yourself until time tells you who to trust.
- Don’t try to give your opinions out too quickly. Just stay calm and quiet and silently watch as conversations take place.
- If you’re assigned a previous teaching position of one of the old time teachers, don’t panic. Regardless of what anyone says, just do your thing. And let anyone know that the principal just told you to teach the subject and they can take it up with them.
- Avoid the staff room. Just avoid it. Sit in the lobby if you have to.
- Try not to get too chummy with the principal or anyone really. Keep to yourself. First, indirect impressions are the real deal.
Did I make you scared? No! Don’t be! It’s not that bad. But just be aware of what you say and your actions. You’ve not only got students who look up to you, but you’ve got a reputation of character and humbleness to uphold.