Here's to New Beginnings!
Leaving the teaching profession after twenty years was not an easy decision! Teaching is, in my opinion, the most important profession. After all, "Teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions." -Unknown
I did get out of teaching much sooner than I thought that I would...ridiculous expectations, standardized testing, and a general lack of respect for the teaching profession did contribute to my premature departure. Despite all of that, I still feel with every fiber and ounce of my being, that this world needs good teachers more than ever before. I also still believe that despite the obstacles, teaching remains an extremely rewarding and emotionally fulfilling endeavor!
The purpose of this blog post is to share a little bit about my journey as a teacher, give a bit of advice to new teachers, and to tell you about my new adventures!
Teaching: A Calling
A good teacher is like a candle-it consumes itself to light the way for others. - Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
I have long proposed that teaching is not, and should not, be viewed as a "job." It is far more than that. It is a calling. You are performing a public service, You are using your special gifts to "give back" to the world. It is important that teachers enter the profession with these thoughts in mind. When you view teaching through this lens, then it is easier to tap into the reserves of energy and grit that will be required at times as you travel through the journey of being a teacher.
I taught for twenty years at one school. I truly felt "called" to be there. It was a very tough place to teach. It was an extremely high poverty school with a large number of students who were learning English as a second language. Many of my students struggled in various ways. Some of them were homeless. Some of my students were experiencing various forms of neglect at home. Many of my students had never experienced basic life events like those who come from more affluent homes. I had students who had never been on a vacation, gone to a movie, been to an amusement park, museum etc... you get the picture. Why did I choose to stay there? I could have gone somewhere else. I chose it because of what I mentioned previously. For me, teaching was a calling! I truly felt that I was placed there for a reason, and I gave it my all every single day. I don't regret it for one moment!
Advice for New Teachers:
I could expound upon the topic of teaching and the value of public education for hours because I continue to feel so passionately about it, but I will instead give a few simple little gems of advice that I have for new teachers entering the profession.
Find a Friend or Mentor:
Teaching can be totally overwhelming, so find someone to share it with! Find somebody who is willing to listen and to be supportive. One of the best ways to overcome the inevitable stress that teaching brings is "venting" to a colleague.
Laughter Cures Everything!:
Yes. Teaching is IMPORTANT! At the same time, nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. Don't take yourself too seriously. We all need to find a way to just see the humor and LAUGH!! It's a huge stress reliever. Laughter is also key in the classroom! Students love to laugh, and they love it when you can laugh at yourself. Believe me when I say... you will find plenty to laugh about in the classroom! :-)
Focus on the Big Picture and Prioritize:
Yes. You will have a long to-do list everyday. No. You will not accomplish everything on that list most days. Accept that, and keep your eye on the end goals. Focus on the big picture. Do not get "bogged down" in the little details. When you do this, you will be able to see what the most important items are, and accomplish those FIRST!
Relationships are EVERYTHING!
I saved the most important advice for last. Relationship building is the single most important thing! You cannot teach a child if you do not have a positive, respectful relationship with him or her!! You just can't! Take the time to get to know your students. Ask them about their lives outside of school and LISTEN!
A New Chapter:
Here I am at fifty years old, and I am embarking on a new journey. I am one of those people who gives my all to whatever that I am doing. That may be one of the reasons, that my teaching journey came to a premature end, but I am certain that it was time. I am also one of those lucky souls who has many passions. I have a strong desire to try many different things. There are so many things that I would love to do with my life, and now I will have the time to do them!
A New Mrs. Fritz:
For those of you who know me, you know that I am the proud mom of two fabulous young men. Several years ago, my oldest son began dating and later married the most wonderful girl imaginable. My beautiful daughter-in-law is truly the daughter that I never had. I love her like she is my own.
Last May, she graduated from college, and she just completed her first year of teaching! Believe it or not, she is following in my footsteps as a second grade teacher!
This thrills me to no end, because I get the opportunity to pass on my experiences and wisdom to her. She was also the recipient of my beloved collection of children's books that she can now use in her own classroom! The Fritz family teaching legacy marches on through her...
What the Future Holds:
Now that I have made my contributions to the world through my twenty years in public education, I am preparing for a whole new journey! Sister and I launched an antiques and collectibles business recently. We began this journey a couple of years ago, by renting a booth in a local antique mall and have since branched out into online sales through our Etsy shop! We would like to eventually follow in our mother's footsteps and open an estate sale business, as well. In the process of setting up our website, I have recently discovered that I actually love blogging... Who knows what the future will bring? I leave you with this quote:
Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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