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Lesson plans. Tons of papers to check and grade. Instructional materials. Class observations. And more! These can be the sources of struggles for new teachers. Very well, the beginning can be always difficult as they say. Seasoned teachers can attest to that. Every new teacher has classroom stories untold. Stories of challenges and achievements. What do new teachers struggle with?
While new teachers like you often inject your classrooms with vitality and excitement, you also have common challenges.
Teaching is a rewarding profession. However, as we impact young people’s lives, we encounter struggles that we must overcome to sustain the vision of providing quality education. Thus, teaching is a profession, not without obstacles that most new teachers overlook.
Only teachers can realize the difficulties associated with this line of work. Teaching kids could appear simple to the average individual.
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What Do New Teachers Struggle With?
1. Student Diversity
Adjusting teacher instructions in a heterogeneous class is quite challenging for new teachers like you. As students are often placed in mixed-ability groups, as the teacher, you need to modify your teaching strategies and learning materials to give your students the quality education they deserve.
Sometimes, as newbies, you’re unable to differentiate your lessons based on the wide range of students’ prior knowledge, interests, and learning styles which results in poor academic performance.
Your best hope lies in attending workshops and training on student diversity so you can adapt your teaching strategies appropriately. A differentiated curriculum can keep students engaged and perform better. And since the heterogeneous setting is a common trend, you must possess maximum flexibility so you can readily adjust and make modifications to meet the varied avenues of skills in the classroom.
Never consider only one teaching strategy. Always understand each student and explore other factors such as family background, ethnicity, socio-economic status, strengths, and weaknesses.
2. Classroom management
Novice teachers like you must attend state-of-the-art training and workshops on classroom management. It’s because managing a classroom with diverse skills and needs is taxing.
Although you’re filled with enthusiasm as you step into the classroom, you’ll finally discover that teaching is a profession that requires much patience and understanding. Classroom management, if not properly planned and handled, can cause a lot of stress and problems.
Since classroom management includes managing routines and fostering positive relationships in the classroom, you have to be ready with varied tactics to navigate the classroom with confidence and grace. Never let go of your grip on discipline no matter what. Even though you’re new to the profession, you can command respect and good relationships in the classroom to avoid getting overwhelmed and frustrated.
3. Pressure from parents, colleagues, and administrators
I know that as new teachers you’re filled with ideal perceptions and anticipation about teaching and learning. You expect perfection and believe in instantaneous discipline. No, that’s not the typical scene.
Embrace the reality of pressure so it will be a lot easier for you to adjust and accept. The pressure from parents, colleagues, and administrators can be hard to bear if you’re not ready. So while you begin your career, never expect that you can please everyone.
4. The bulk of paperwork and extended working hours
We, teachers, are overworked and have too much on our plate. We extend working hours and even do the checking and recording of students’ work at home. With so much paperwork coming into the house, new teachers who aren’t able to adjust yet, really struggle. And because of additional workloads, some of us can’t focus on teaching. This is why newbies like you might get stressed out about clerical work a teacher has. Some of you might be taking large classes and have excessive workloads. This is really big!
Besides, paperwork can cause stress. But if teachers just focus on teaching and making the appropriate teaching materials, this profession can be filled with stories of happiness and contentment. However, once you develop a system and a technique to become organized, you can keep paperwork under control.
5. School budget issues
Research shows that some schools are experiencing cuts in funding. And this is quite an issue. New teachers also commonly struggle with budget issues in the classroom. Have you experienced it too? We sometimes run out of paper for our activity sheets.
School budget cuts can really affect us, teachers, especially if we are so dedicated to creating a conducive learning environment for our students. And if you’re a newbie, this issue can make you overwhelmed.
There can be instances when you spend your own money on classroom improvement and structure, not to mention the manipulatives and other learning tools. You usually feel this pain at the beginning of the year wherein you have to purchase school supplies and materials.
Some schools today really made cutbacks that also overwhelm school heads. It’s one of the major problems that heads of schools need to overcome for sustainability. Run-down computers, printers, and other equipment need replacements and need to be included supposedly in the budget.
6. Teaching Larger Classes
Rising pupil numbers means hard work. It requires more preparation and more expectations. With the increasing number of students per class, you are expected to exert more effort in terms of reaching out to each student. And this causes struggle.
To make it easier for you, you should plan and prepare for each day. Being an effective teacher, I know you can do well in providing a structure and routine in your large class. It can be really hard in the beginning, but once you catch a system for organization, you can experience a smooth flow of work and routines.
Moreover, students are most likely to thrive once they see you as their hardworking and accommodating teacher. Your enthusiasm is energy in your class as well. This just means that teaching a larger class does take a strong commitment from you.
7. Lesson planning
Preparing lesson plans are meant for us. It’s our Bible. Though we can teach without it, it’s very necessary to prepare our daily lesson plans or logs to keep us guided in our craft. A well-prepared lesson plan often translates into meaningful interactions in the classroom.
We studied lesson planning during our bachelor’s degree, so this isn’t new to us. It should not be a burden. You should accept that you have to prepare your guide so your students can experience academic growth.
Keeping a time schedule for lesson planning can help you create a routine for class preparation. Since we all need the required framework for teaching, then we should internalize this task. That way can make ourselves more ready each day and give the best instruction to our learners. It’s just a matter of prioritizing the time for lesson planning and executing it with dedication.
Lesson planning should not be one of your struggles. Keep that in mind and you will enjoy teaching more and see more growth rather than struggles.
8. Time Management
To you, time might suck. Scamming might lurk around the corner and you get stressed that you thought of leaving the profession. Too early my dear. Well, it’s just in the beginning, but when you get the hang of your daily routines, time management can be your best friend.
It’s just about owning the best recipe for time management. If you really want to reclaim your time and make the best of it, you should have a good sense of time management. The best way to capture its essence is to avoid procrastinating. It’s the enemy of all. Combat its threats by increasing your focus and becoming more goal-oriented. Never be a pawn to “I’ll just do this later.” That is sad.
Think of your time-consuming activities such as preparing test questionnaires, making instructional materials, and assessments. You can actually save much time if you collaborate with other teachers who are teaching the same grade level or adopt some online resources.
9. Teaching strategies
Since the number one struggle mentioned in the list has been really a grand one, teaching strategies can indeed become a challenge for you. Student diversity needs to be addressed very well. That is why you should always consider the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy.
So what will you do to identify the learning styles of your new learners right at the beginning of the school year? Well, I suggest that you conduct an activity first for identifying learning styles and preferences. There are ready-made templates online so it can be easier on your end.
I know all too well that you spend a few hours thinking of the strategies you’ll use to help that shy student of yours before you can hit the bed. And overthinking is stressful. So, I mentioned, identifying learning styles and preferences from the beginning.
10. Student Performance
Increasing student performance and magnifying students’ academic growth can create tremendous pressure on you as much as on the students. Student performance depends on your vitality and confidence as a teacher. If you’re really a motivator and you really wanted to help your students recognize their strengths and weaknesses, then increasing student performance can never be your struggle after all.
Your influence plays a role in student performance. As an effective teacher, you can inspire and engage your students to learn in meaningful ways. Most importantly, if you believe in yourself and that you can inspire and make a difference, then increasing student performance can’t be a problem.
In other words, your capability as an educator must be very visible and be felt by your students to have a positive impact on student performance. This can also establish your expectations for your students which affects student performance and achievement.
TidBits from me:
As you join this noble profession, put in your heart that you’re engaged in a vocation that can’t afford to accommodate your unrealistic expectations.
I tell you. It’s better to be that way to avoid a high level of stress. Always display a determined spirit, especially during your first year in the classroom.
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Being new in the teaching profession can be really tough. At any rate, you are always capable of fostering academic success in the classroom. And it hinges on the quality of your preparation. It correlates with how well you have prepared for class.
As a highly capable and motivated teacher, I know you can build more flexibility to sustain the profession’s dynamism. Hopefully, the tips mentioned above can help you overcome your struggles as a new teacher.