Nearly 50 percent of new teachers leave the profession within their first five years, according to the U.S. Department of Education. This is an alarming number! Many new teachers enter the profession with little support and even less knowledge about the workload being asked of educators. Here are 3 key lessons new teachers must learn to avoid burnout and minimize the high rates of teacher turnover.
1. You’re not expected to be perfect.
As a new teacher, it is easy to fall into the perfection trap. The need to have every day planned down to the minute, every lesson be the best you’ve ever delivered, and feeling that there is no room for mistakes, will leave you frustrated and drained. You are human and the sooner you can let go of the need to be perfect the more effective you will become as a teacher.
2. The more hours spent in the classroom does not equate to your dedication for the job.
I used to be the first one at school and the last one to leave; I thought this made me dedicated. That was wrong. I was dedicated because I cared deeply and always strived to grow as a teacher, not because I spent the most hours in the building every day. What that will do however, is send you on the fast track to burnout. Set your boundaries early and stick to them. Remember, you also need sleep to be a successful teacher.
3. You deserve to have fun outside the classroom!
You get to have brunch with a friend instead of lesson planning all day Sunday, you get to take a personal day or a needed long weekend, and you get to eat dinner without the stack of papers to grade in front of you. Prioritize fun in your free time and don’t lose touch with who you were before you became a teacher. Education is what you do, not who you are.
Lastly, remember you are not in it alone! Lean on your community, your peers, your family and friends for the support you need. Being a teacher is hard, it is also rewarding and meaningful. We need you to take care of you first so that you can show up and help your students thrive!
Kids Read Now would like to thank Anna for her guest blog contribution. If you have any questions about the Kids Read Now in-home reading program, please contact us.