Thankfully, I made it through my first year of teaching. It wasn't without its hiccups and bumps, but it was worth it. What's interesting, is that I thought my second year was going to be so much easier than my first. Boy, was I wrong!
This year, I realized just how much I did wrong last year. I realized that there is a high amount of effort that you have to put in if you want your students to actually learn what you have to teach them. Last year I would basically "wing it" with a lot of the assignments I did. I've come to realize that doing that was both more difficult for me, and unfair to my students.
By taking the time to prep lessons before class, I teach better and the kids retain more information. It also makes my class time MUCH easier. I don't have to worry about how to fill extra time, because I now have a plan for it. I also find that the students respond totally different to a teacher that is prepared.
My new philosophy is that this year, I am going to work harder and more than I did last year. It's worth it, and it will make future years to come much easier. I have truly committed myself to making my curriculum the best it can be and finding new and interesting ways to engage my students.
I am constantly looking for ways to get them interested in class projects and keep them excited about what we are learning. This is my passion now, and I truly love it.
If you are a first year teacher, my advice to you is don't make the same mistakes I did. Realize that while you have a lot on your plate, your students deserve the best education they can get and it is your responsibility to provide it. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it when you see them succeed.