Newbie Teachers Crack Me Up: The Desire to Fit In

I’ve been teaching for almost ten years with the Hawaii Department of Education at the same school. I don’t know if that’s a curse or a blessing, but I’ve seen a lot of change – good and bad.

I’ve seen a good share of turnover for various reasons, and I suppose becoming a veteran allows me to see the same ol’ patterns of the newbie, idealistic teacher – gung ho with ideas and enthusiasm, ready to make that impact on young children’s lives, but only to realize that it’s not that working with students is the challenge . . .or problem.

Oftentimes, it’s working with other teachers that sucks.

English: A teacher in the classroom
English: A teacher in the classroom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I teach at a middle school, and I am constantly  surrounded with tween drama – hormones, pre-adolescence. It really does take a certain type of personality to teach 12-13 year olds.

But when I see other adults, especially new teachers, and more specifically females perhaps (or maybe I’m seeing it from a female perspective), struggling to fit in with already set cliques and dynamics of the school staff, it feels like I’m back in high school drama. It can be like, “Mean Girls” all over again.

A word of advice for newbie teachers the first year hired at a school: keep your mouth shut and just observe.

Nothing pisses off a bunch of veteran teachers than having a snot-nosed newbie act as if they know the ropes. Just because you’ve just graduated from university with the B.A. or the Master’s degree doesn’t qualify you as experienced. Learning theory from books and discussing hypothetical situations with professors who haven’t been in the classroom for years doesn’t actually relate to real field experience today. It also doesn’t matter where or when you’ve student taught.

Being so eager, and volunteering for everything just makes you a kiss-butt, but as a first time teacher, please don’t bitch and complain. Vocalizing struggles will just show haters weakness. . .and haters feed on fear and weakness.

Maybe there is a difference between elementary school and secondary school teachers, and between private and public school teachers, but this is going to be an exploration and the tale of newbie teachers at my public school. Stay tuned.

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