Feeling overwhelmed as a new teacher is pretty normal. Just ask a veteran teacher.
Lesson plans, papers to grade, meetings to attend, demanding parents, behavior issues, and the ever-present thought that this is not what I was expecting it to be. It’s a lot to take on, isn’t it?
Especially when just a few months ago you were a student and maybe some of you were interning with a really great teacher who had wonderful classroom procedures in place when you arrived.
She had already built relationships with students and parents.
It was an AWESOME interning experience.
Now reality has hit and you are feeling overwhelmed because it’s not quite as easy when you are the person in charge. You’re thinking “I’m not cut out for this.”
Don’t worry-this-is-perfectly-normal. It happens to veteran teachers too.
BUT, there is something you can do. Keep reading.
It’s going to be fine. Really. Most teachers feel somewhat overwhelmed at this point in the school year – not just new teachers. Everything is new each school year to some degree and it takes time to get it under control. So, remember it’s not just you. When you feel stressed – stop – take a deep breath. It works – trust me.
Focus & Prioritize
There are a million little details that pop up and you have to deal with them, but keep your focus on your students and their learning – that’s the priority. It’s nice to have a pretty classroom, but that is not the focus for you this year.
If you are an organized person – skip this step. But if you are NOT, please take my advice.
1. Create a student filing system for their graded papers and other paperwork that must go home. Teach one of your students how to file papers for you. They love to do it and it will save you SO much time!
2. Get an academic calendar planner and USE it. Write down everything and check off your list as you complete tasks. There is such a feeling of accomplishment when you check something off!
3. Have a folder or drawer for papers that need grading. Try not to get behind on grading – it’s a mountain your don’t want to have to climb.
4. Create folders for:
– lesson plans by subject or by day and put everything you will need for the lesson in that folder
– things that need to be copied
– things that need to be filed
This will keep papers off your desk or work area. That alone will decrease your stress.
Take Care of Yourself
It will feel like you could work 24/7 and never get it all done. It’s true – you can’t, so stop stressing and pace yourself. Try to work on school stuff only one day out of the weekend. You need time off or you will get burnt out really fast.
Ask for Help
Your teammates and administration are very busy just like you, so they don’t always know when you need help – so ask. 90% of the time they will be happy to help you out. Remember – they were first-year teachers at some point and they REMEMBER how hard it was.
The first year of teaching is definitely the hardest. It’s easy to become overwhelmed – so don’t feel like it’s just you – it isn’t. Some of our best veteran teachers also get overwhelmed – but they have learned how to handle it.
These tips can really help you survive this first year – but also thrive in the years to come!
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Jennifer Blanchard says
Great post! I started a new teacher group at my school this year called "Welcoming New Teachers". We talk about the things you mentioned and also a lot of the "little things" like school traditions/activities, etc. so they won't feel lost. I also made Teacher Emergency Baskets for all of them with things like deodorant, advil, toothbrush/toothpaste, etc. Our first meeting went well and I hope it will take a bit of the stress out of their first few years. On a side note, I finally grabbed an organizer calendar this year instead of relying on my phone and sticky notes! 🙂 Thanks!!
Jennifer~Practical Primary Teacher