You Mean I Don’t Have to Be Perfect?

Did teacher prep forget to mention a few things? Teachers tell us what they wish they’d known in their first year.

Perfect? Not me.

Jacob Bauer Zebley, Cecil County 
 Government Teacher, Elkton High

In my first five years of teaching I wish I knew that I didn’t have to be perfect. I thought that every lesson needed to be flawless and that I had to know the answer to every question. If a lesson didn’t go well, I felt like I had failed. Over time I realized that every lesson that didn’t go as planned allowed me to grow as an educator. I learned that today’s mistakes make for tomorrow’s successes.

It’s alright to say to your students, “I’m sorry guys, but tomorrow I’ll get this right!” When that happens, my students are forgiving and acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes. I always appreciate their compassion and they appreciate my honesty. I may be the teacher and they may be the students, but together we are a team when it comes to learning!

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Tell me about the parents!

Charles Hall , Cecil County 
4th grade, Thomson Estates Elementary

I never knew how necessary it is to receive consistent feedback from administrators on best teaching practices or how collaboration and sharing ideas with my colleagues could help lighten the workload. And I wish I knew that by making positive connections with my students and their families, my classroom environment would become even more conducive to achievement and academic success.

Where is my instructional time?

Stephanie Vricella , Anne Arundel County 
1st grade, Benfield Elementary

The time that I am required to spend away from my students, for various reasons, is what has surprised me most. Conferences, testing, faculty meetings, CDM, professional developments, the ever-changing curriculum, etc. These all cut into the time I am allotted with my wonderful students and planning for the best instruction I can give them.

I wish I had known how much would be expected and required outside of the classroom since being with my students, watching them grow, hearing their questions, and having them share their inspirational ideas are the real reasons I entered this field — not seeing them as data points.