Do you think that finding your way as a first-time teacher can be complicated? No worries!!! Being overwhelmed is normal. There will be moments when you will feel isolated because you have to focus too much on teaching that you forget about everything else. Some days, the situations you will go through are too much to handle. So many awesome teachers get to the point when they have to decide if they will continue or if they will try to change careers. I have been there lots!
Making it through the first years of teaching can be challenging, but so rewarding too. Educators want to accelerate their growth- let's get our students learning! This explains why some teachers are too focused on just teaching without realizing that they have forgotten the first reason why they wanted to teach. People who become teachers usually choose the profession because they love to inspire, they love to teach others new things. They know that their way of teaching can be significant for the students that they will meet. Sadly, some educators forget about this because of being overwhelmed. They end up being uninspired. They are just stuck with being teachers because this is what they have learned to do. (Remember the awful saying 'Those who can do, those who can't, teach').
Do you ever feel this same way? Are you feeling uninspired with your experiences as a teacher lately? Consider finding a mentor to help you with your needs.
Mentors can be important to the lives of the teachers, to your life. The coach will provide the help that you are searching for. The coach does not have to be someone who has all the right tips and tricks to make a teacher good. A real coach understands that each teacher is different. Each teacher needs personalized attention to help you return to the inspired and determined teacher you have always wanted to be.
With the help of mentors, you will start to adjust to the classroom in which you teach and to the school. Ever school and ever classroom have their own cultures. A coach will help you in navigating the cultures while maintaining control of you, your practice, and your students. The more that you become immersed in all of these, the faster that you would be able to adapt and start to feel back in control.
The most important thing is this: You will learn the importance of personal development and goal achievement with the guidance of a mentor.
Mentors are considered to be important but do you know that not all teachers get mentors voluntarily? Some teachers are required to learn things on their own. They take small steps to understand the school system. Since they are too focused on learning more about the school and the people that they deal with, they forget about themselves.
Just because you have a Bed, it does not mean you are ready to teach. Gosh, I do not think I was ready to teach until I had taught for the better part of a decade. There is so much to learn!! You may be ready for whatever school system you will teach in, but you may not be personally ready. The responsibility of teaching the future is and can be quite overwhelming- think of how important you really are. I cannot stress the importance of being prepared. A good mentor, or coach, will be able to guide into a deeper understanding of where you are professionally and pull you forward with small, sequential steps. Teaching takes emotional and mental strength. Like I said above, it is a powerful career. As well, it is a practice. You should not be pressured to be perfect from the very beginning. Being a good teacher will require a lot of experience, perseverance, and hard work.
Do you feel that just because you have passed all of the requirements with flying colours that you can handle what a group of 25 kiddos will throw at you? I hope not! A lot of new teachers may feel this way in the beginning. It is when they are in front of their new students and they are trying to explain lessons when they would begin to feel frustrated and sometimes even angry that the students are not responding well. As awful as this sounds, it is normal. Use these frustrating times as reflective learning curves.
To the students, you are their mentor. You are someone who is teaching them lessons that they may or may not use in the future. Even if you are already their mentor, their coach, their biggest cheerleader, you still need a coach of your own. Olympic athletes only get that title because they work with others, coaches, who support them, who cheer for them, and who guide them forward.
We are all students! Do not let yourself think it is not a good thing if you need help- what do we always (almost always) say, 'the only stupid question is the one not asked'. Ask for help, seek help, accept help. We expect our students to learn something new every day- why can't you??? Just remember that it will only be possible if you allow it to happen. Acceptance is the key to this. The moment that you accept that you need the help of someone who is more knowledgeable and more experienced than you, that is when you would start to grow as an effective educator. You only know what you know.
Working with a coach has benefits. Working with a coach that you pick (not your admin) has even more benefits to your practice.
Candid and personal (professional) conversations: Talk to your coach. Remember they are mentoring you. They can draw from years of experience to guide and support you. If you have a question or a frustration about your practice, ask them. I am sure they have had a similar question or frustration.
Bouncing board: A coach is someone to whom you can vent out your frustrations. This is someone who will just listen without saying anything because he/she knows that, that is exactly what you need. You may find yourself starting to feel calm after you have voiced out your frustrations. Hopefully, you and your coach will use your frustrations as a starting point for learning and questioning.
Improvement to your practice: It will depend on you if the progress is going to be fast or slow- your journey is unique. What matters is that you will grow at your own pace. Your coach will work with you on goals, current situations, and small changes that provide HUGE impact. Remember, your recorded lessons will be there to provide concrete examples of your practice.
Individualized attention: Relevant and practical professional development- how much better can it get! You ask the questions, you set the goal, and you are the example. Everything is about you and improving your practice. No more sitting around and listening to examples and suggestions that have no relevance to you.
Increase your communication skills: .A lot of people are shy but because of their dream to become educators, they have to overcome that shyness. You always have the strength to become a better communicator. Your coach will give you guidance, support, and strategies to increase your communication skills and improve your confidence. I promise I have been there with shyness....and then with saying the wrong thing all the time :) If I can improve with a coach, so can you!
Leadership skills: As an educator, you are a leader. Your students look up to you, they will run to you for help. You need to establish your role as a leader in the classroom. If you are unable to do this, you will not get the respect that you deserve. Your coach will teach you how to develop those leadership skills necessary both in the classroom and in the school community. You may even be taught on how to have the proper mindset so you can be an effective leader.
No scheduling observations: You pick the time, day, and lesson to record. Your coach will watch, analyze, and provide feedback in the best way for you.
No disruption to your students: Does this need an explanation? Remind yourself of how crazy the class gets when a visitor pops in. A video coach is never physically in the room. Your students will not perform a comedy without an audience!
Feedback is objective: All examples are on your recorded lesson so need to to try to remember if something happened one way or the other. Instead of focusing on the maybes, you can focus on the physical evidence of your practice to shape your growth.
These are just a few of the benefits. The list goes on. Working with someone to improve your professional practice and help you achieve your goals is never a bad thing. The only downside, is that it takes commitment to change (and additional funding). Like some many coaches say (in the sports world) 'No pain, no gain'. You do need to make some sacrifices, but you will learn, grow, and feel much more confident and accomplished in your career.
Remember, no one improves ANY practice without guidance, goals, support, and, a coach.