1. BREATHE- Everything is going to be okay. When stress is all you feel, remember to take it one step at a time and take care of yourself. Mapping out what you need to do now and what other things can wait will help. Time management is a critical skill for teachers.
2. REMEMBER YOU ARE HUMAN- Understand early in your career that you are human and not perfect. You will make mistakes; a lesson or two may fail. This does not make you a failure. In fact, you can become very successful by simply allowing yourself to learn from failure.
3. SET A TIME TO GO HOME- Let’s be real, the work never stops for a teacher. You could just keep going and going. In order to be successful and feel successful you need to go home at a reasonable time, enjoy time with family, and rest for the next day. You cannot run yourself into the ground day in and day out.
4. KNOW THAT TOMORROW IS A NEW DAY- Your messy classroom, piles of papers to grade and stacks of copies to be made will be there tomorrow. Understanding this will help you achieve tip #3.
5. BE POSITIVE- It’s super easy to get lost in the stress and begin to focus on the negative. Make it a habit of only allowing yourself to think positive. All you need to do is focus on one part of your day that went well (some days it’s a very small part, but that’s okay!). After doing this, all of a sudden everything gets better and you begin to believe you CAN do it. You ARE successful.
6. REMEMBER WHY YOU BECAME A TEACHER- Focusing on this aspect will allow you to see you have probably already accomplished the reason why you became a teacher. You ARE successful.
7. FIND A MENTOR OR WORK BUDDY-You will need someone who understands the life of a teacher to confide in, talk to, and de-stress with at times. Chances are they will show you that you are doing a great job and that you ARE successful. I like to call this person my “personal pumper-upper.” Also, use this mentor or buddy to plan with. It will help lighten your workload!
8. UNDERSTAND YOU ARE A LIFELONG LEARNER- The world of education never stops changing. There will be times when the change seems to be impossible. Just remember you yourself are learning.
9. BE CONFIDENT- Remember you went to school for this stuff. You know what you are talking about. Despite your young age in this field, your words and ideas are valued. I highly recommend joining a committee at your school (I joined our PBS committee). This really helped to build my confidence.
10. ASK QUESTIONS- If you feel you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for it! Asking questions helps us to learn, and therefore we become more successful.
Erika Bilenki, 1st Grade Teacher
Brick Mill Elementary School,Middletown, DE
University of Delaware, Class of 2013
BSED, Elementary/Special Education
The opinions expressed in Career Corner are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.