Welcome to a Whole New World!
Meet Chris, a First-Year Teacher - Just Like You!
Hello, Teacher Friends!
I am honored to embark on this journey with you all! This has been one challenging but fulfilling school year. If you are like me, you are officially in the home stretch. A little bit about me. I started in education back in the 2014-2015 school year straight from college. I worked as a paraprofessional for 6 years. My subject content area was special education. I worked at an elementary school that just opened my first year I got there. I was so scared my first few weeks there as I did not want to mess up. That was my first mistake. With education as long as you have the heart and passion for students, it does not matter how much you mess up as you will have those days. What matters is you have a heart and passion for student success! I cannot tell you how many times I have messed up or did something wrong. I can however say how many times my love and passion for students has been praised by my peers and leaders. I have only worked from a paraprofessional standpoint. Six years later I am finally in a teaching role!
It has been quite the journey. The journey has been worth every teardrop, every grey hair. As I worked my way through my course work that Texas Teachers offers, it has definitely come in handy. I am still navigating through my first year as a first-year teacher. Can anyone prepare you to be a teacher? I would say I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for being part of this amazing alternative certification program. As not only do they have the best people working for us all, they also have so many resources that will not only make you more knowledgeable but also current. You may be thinking what does current mean. Texas Teachers is always on top of the latest things that can help teachers like me and you get through their first year. Whether it is a content test or simply having concerns about how to make it through the year. I have truly learned from this outstanding alternative certification program so many times this year.
The word “faith” is truly what got me where I am today. At this moment I just truly reflect on how much my mindset has gotten me. With this teaching role I have become more vastly more experienced and now am able to envision myself as the leader that I always knew that I could be. My advice to anyone that wants to pursue teaching is… GO FOR IT!!! Do not be afraid to cross that bridge.
Now let’s talk about what it is like teaching through a pandemic. One word that comes to mind is “Flexible.” Something I have practiced daily in my teaching career so far. I live by that word. Not every day will be the same. Yet every day is an opportunity to make the most of your day no matter what the outcome can be. I teach a developmental reading program. In that program, I work specifically on reading fluency and comprehension. So, I always set small goals for myself to accomplish with my students each day. To me, that is a way to truly strive to have a victory of some sort to make it through the day. In education, you definitely need your small victories along with your tribe. That can be your colleagues, or your admin team, or even a community group on social media. I noticed this year more than ever everyone felt like a first-year teacher. This year we were introduced to virtual learning. Zoom and countless others that are now the new normal for first-year teachers. All that remains the same is that we are not only all in this together, but we are here first and foremost for the students!
Onwards and Upwards
The last word I want to leave you with is “Courage.” It takes true courage to be a leader but even more so to be a first-year teacher through an unknown school year. I had my moments of worrying would I get it? This was my 7th year in education overall. As I mentioned earlier, I worked as a paraprofessional. I learned in my first year of being in education that you must always show up for your students. No matter the circumstance. I kept that concept in my mind and heart each day I walked into that building. Whatever was going on I left it at the door.
I also had the courage to accept the things I can’t control. I knew I couldn’t control what was happening around me. I did everything I was told to do to keep myself safe and the students as well. There is the 6 feet apart rule, there is the mask rule. All those safety precautions during the school year are truly what helped me stay sane. The truth is the students and me being in this new role also gave me the courage that anything is possible.