Professional Learning

Message to New Teachers for a New Year: Patience, Persistence and Peace

Wise words from a veteran

January 4, 2012

Dear New Teacher,

Congratulations! You made it through the holiday rush, classroom busyness and maybe even some college class craziness. If you've come this far, you should give yourself a hug and feel a great sense of accomplishment.

You've set up and designed your classroom, written tons of lesson plans, greeted and gotten to know your students, conferenced with their parents and produced your first set of report cards. Whew! Not easy tasks by any means! But they all come with the territory of being a new teacher.

And we're already at the beginning of a new calendar year. Before the whirl of activity starts up again, I hope you will take some time to rest and reflect.

In the spirit of the new year, there are three things I want to share with you, three words that may encapsulate your needs as you enter 2012. Please take a moment to consider the meaning of these three words.

Patience: "quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence; to work with patience." ~

If you haven't already discovered this, teaching takes an incredible amount of patience; not only that which you show your students, their families and your colleagues, but most importantly patience with yourself. Be kind to yourself as you reflect on where you were, where you're going and where you want to be. Give yourself time to really get a sense of what you worked hard to accomplish and what you still want to work on. Be patient with yourself as you plan and prepare for the days, weeks and months ahead. Remember that patience is a virtue and that, as a passionate educator, your work will always include fostering patience.

Persistence: "the continuance of an effect after its cause is removed." ~

Do you have a vision for the future of your work? Are you willing to strive to make it a reality? Will you stay persistent in this goal? I hope the answer to all three of these questions is a resounding... YES! Persistence in the face of restless students, anxious parents and the pressures of the school day is what it takes to be a servant leader. And along with serving and leading, teachers are so much more! As you roll up your sleeves every day, search out your lesson plans and get down to the business of delivering instruction, persistence will keep you going despite the proverbial misstep that's bound to happen in your daily work. Keeping a persistent, positive vision of the amazing things you can accomplish with your class will make the struggle worthwhile.

Peace: "cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissention." ~

Being at peace takes work . . . but it's work worth doing. As a new teacher, you may not seek peace as often as you should. You are constantly experiencing stress and pressure. Yet peace is a powerful sense of being that I highly encourage you to take the time to experience and master. Where is it, or when is it, that you most feel at peace? How can you work to experience this daily? The ability to be at peace with your decision about a student, a phone call to a parent, or the results of an observation by your principal, will be critical to your success. The peace that you work to have for yourself and bring to your teaching will spill over to your classroom environment, make for more positive daily interactions and carry you through the best and worst days of your career.

As you launch into 2012, my hope is that you will pause to reflect on these three words, define their meaning for yourself and your work, and consider how you might use them to set a tone for your goals in the days ahead. My hope is that you lean into the new year with patience, persistence, and most of all . . . peace.

Sincerely, L

And, I leave you with a question: How will you stay patient, persistent and peaceful as you begin your work in 2012?

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