To the new teacher in the room,
It's not easy. None of it is easy. The job, the time commitment, the lack of a social life, the caring for other people's children, the lack of having enough time, the want to do more, the need to be good enough … none of it is easy. But you're not alone.
It's stressful. There's a lot to do, and it never really stops. No matter how much you prepare, there is always more to do. More to read. More to learn. More to experience.
And you need to know that you can't do it all. And you don't have to. You can do a lot — and probably more than you think you're capable of. But you can't expect yourself to do everything, or to take on everything. That's not your job. That's not your responsibility. There are other people around you to help. There are other people in your school that you can ask to help you out. You don't have to do everything alone.
You don't have to take on a coaching position while running multiple clubs, having various class preps, and attempting to personally feel prepared enough to stand in front of a classroom. You do not need to pretend that you know exactly what you're doing 24/7 or that you're the most perfect teacher right from the start. No one is. It's not possible to be. This is a job that you learn as you go. You can start out a bit more prepared, sure, but you can't really prepare yourself for everything you will see or face.
Some students don't have a home. Or they do but they wish they could leave. Some students have abusive families and just need someone to be there for them. Some students have been abused and need to feel as though there is someone in the world who is willing to listen to them. Some students don't have enough money to afford a coat in the winter, or even a pair of shoes. Some students have never had someone to talk to or to trust. Some feel stupid because others have told them that they are stupid. Some students feel lost. Some feel scared. Some feel angry.
They all need you.
Some students are perfectly happy and just need to learn. Some students have secrets they've never told anyone. Some students need to learn that the world isn't as bad as they've made it out to be. Some students need to learn what life will be life.
They all need you.
As lost, confused, unprepared, and uneasy as you feel, your students feel it, too. And they most likely don't know that you feel that way. They can't tell if you know everything about the subject you're teaching. They can't tell if you're the smartest person in the room or not. But you also need to realize that sometimes you're not. Sometimes you need to be honest with them. Tell them when you don't know something. Model that looking up information is not a weakness, but a strength. Finding answers to questions we have is not a disadvantage — it's an asset of a mindful teacher and of a caring person.
Your students don't need the smartest person in the world. They need you. They need someone who cares about them. They need someone who listen to them. They need someone who believes in them. That's you. That's always been you. That's why you went into this field and why you stress about being the best that you can be. That's why you refuse to give up no matter how much pressure you feel or how tired you are. You care.
You're the one they need.
So don't give up. Don't give up on them. Don't give up on yourself. Stay strong, because they need you.
And because nothing feels better than knowing that you were able to be that person for someone else. The person they can count on. The person they can trust. The person they can come to for advice and for guidance. The person they know is always there for them.
Your students need you. Don't be discouraged. Don't let them scare you out of what you love to do. Don't feel like you're in this all alone.
You're not alone.
They're not alone.
And you can be the person to show them that.
More Than Just A Teacher