Defeat first-year teacher doubt with these six simple strategies.Oct 28, 2022
Teaching is a difficult job, no matter what grade level or subject you teach.
This is especially true for first-year teachers, which can lead to self-doubt and cause you to wonder if this is the right career path for you.
Here are ways to not only manage the feelings that are causing you doubt, but also overcome them and reassure yourself you’re right where you need to be.
1. Focus on Progress
As a first-year teacher, it can take time to find your stride in the classroom, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and over-stressed. But honing your skills as a teacher doesn’t happen overnight — rather, it’s a process that takes time.
Ease the pressure you’re feeling by focusing on progress and, when you need extra guidance, tap into resources that can help you navigate the specific challenges you’re facing — like this blog about classroom management for beginning teachers, for example.
2. Manage Your Expectations
It’s common to come into your first year as a teacher full of excitement and anticipation. But when things don’t shake out how you hoped they would, you may feel disappointed.
If you feel disappointment settling in, take an inventory of your expectations for the school year. If you realize you’re striving for perfection, you’ve set the bar too high. Remember, your students don’t need perfection to feel supported and to be successful.
3. Boost Your Confidence
Your first year of teaching will, without a doubt, highlight areas where you can improve. While that’s normal, it can be discouraging if you feel like you’re falling short in one or more areas. Give yourself a confidence boost by creating small goals that set you up for achievable wins. Before you know it, your small wins will turn into big achievements.
4. Create Boundaries
As a first-year teacher, enthusiasm (or an overwhelming schedule) can lead you to dedicate your personal time to work. But spending time on weeknights and/or weekends working to keep your classroom running will leave you feeling worn out and, possibly, burnt out. Prevent burnout by creating boundaries that define your personal and work time. If you’re not able to fit your classroom to-dos into your working hours, you may need to prioritize the items that are most important and nix the non-essentials.
5. Build a Community
With so much on your plate during your first year, it can be hard to connect with your fellow teachers, leading to isolation and loneliness. Mentorship is a great way to build relationships and get support from someone who knows exactly what you’re going through. The Arizona K12 Center offers learning and networking opportunities specifically for new teachers.