InClass

A teacher’s first year in the classroom can be tumultuous and overwhelming. First-year teacher Ashley Bloomer reflects on her experiences flying solo in the classroom. Ashley Bloomer is a kindergarten teacher at Westar Elementary School. The Western Michigan University alumna is completing her inau

Jun 01, 2016

A teacher’s first year in the classroom can be tumultuous and overwhelming. First-year teacher Ashley Bloomer reflects on her experiences flying solo in the classroom.


Ashley Bloomer is a kindergarten teacher at Westar Elementary School. The Western Michigan University alumna is completing her inaugural year in the classroom and says she looks forward to refining her craft next year.

What are three things you learned about yourself during your first year of teaching?

This year I learned several things about myself as a person and a teacher. I learned that I can go with the flow much easier than I thought. Many things change throughout the day that I can’t control. It’s just easier to take it in and move on to the next best thing. I also learned that I have fewer organizational skills than I thought. Therefore, I’ve had to learn how to arrange my classroom so that it is functional for both my students and myself. Needless to say, my room has changed several times this year. Finally, I learned that it’s OK to rely on others for ideas or materials. As they say, teachers are the best at borrowing ideas and taking anything they can get for free. I am lucky to be part of a great team that helps me and gives me plenty of ideas!

What are three things you learned about the profession during your first year in the classroom?

During my first year I have learned a lot about the profession of teaching. For instance, I have no time during my day. Also, I learned there are so many teachers out there with a plethora of knowledge just waiting to be tapped into. Finally, I learned that seeing my kids’ progress from the beginning of the year until now has made all the hard work and sleepless nights worth it!

What surprised you most about the first year of teaching?  

The thing that surprised me the most about my first year of teaching is how smooth it has gone. I have been very lucky to have a great group of kids this year and they have made it very easy to fall into a routine. They are flexible about changing things around, which I have done several times, because I want to see what works best for my students and me.

What do you plan to do differently next year? 

I have been thinking about next year for the past several weeks now … I think about those preschool students walking in the door, scared and confused as to what is going on and starting at zero again. I have decided to change several things next year, one being my writing block. I am a strong believer in journaling and the benefits it provides, not only for the writing, but also reading. I think having my writing block in the morning makes the kids feel rushed, and therefore, they aren’t able to get everything down. So next year, I will be moving this activity to the afternoon.

Do you have a funny story that you’ll always remember from your first year? 

I will have a ton of stories from this year that will carry on for a long time. One in particular comes from our unit on worms. I have tables in my room, where four students sit per group. I put paper towels in the middle of the tables and put a couple of worms on each table. I got the typical response to them — “Ewww, gross!” — but I encouraged the kids to touch and observe them. While doing so, one of the girls in my class was leaning on her table with both of her elbows and the desk tipped up. The worms fell down between both of the desks. By the time I saw what happened, she had already gotten off the table and the table came crashing down with a worm right in the middle. Needless to say, the worm got severed in two with insides all over the place … I had one concerned little girl in tears. I find this story funny because the student that it happened to cared so much for that worm’s life. The look on her face was priceless, before she started crying. I can’t help but love kindergarten!

The Arizona K12 Center strives to support teachers in numerous ways by offering affordable professional learning opportunities. New teachers are invited to attend the Beginning Teacher Institute on June 28-30, 2016 in Tucson, Arizona.

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