My school district has this thing called “New Teacher Orientation”. 4 years ago I took the leap, transitioning from private school to public. Every teacher new to the district attended this extra orientation. I remember my group. I remember the ladies who would join me at teaching at our middle school. We went to trainings together and ate lunch together. It was remenenciat of the first week of college. You found your buddy and hold tight because there is so much new!
Little did I know that many of these ladies would be lifelong friends. I have helped them move, watched their dogs, attended Bible studies together, danced at their weddings, and even held their babies.
But now, my closest friends from that year are ALL gone.
Of the larger group I came in with, many have moved on. Some have stayed home with babies, changed campuses, changed districts, moved across the country, and some have left the profession altogether.
I’m not suggesting my district has a higher than normal turnover rate. I’m joined at my school by teachers with 15-25 years of experience. For many of them, most of those years are in our district. But for us newbies, it takes time to find your place. And teaching can be a grueling profession. And sometimes your best place isn’t were you start out at.
When I think of a comparable profession l, I think of the medical field. I’ve watched the TV show SCRUBS so I’m obviously an expert. We entered a career as newbies. We had intense working experiences that bound us together. And then, at different points, we had to follow our own path.
This year, I’m the veteran.
This year, I’m mentoring the new teachers.
This year, I’m the expert.
To all the newbies this year: build relationships with your colleagues. You might just find your best friend and your tribe. Your path may change but those friendships are forever.
To all the veterans this year: protect and guide those newbies. Choose your words wisely. You have the power to inspire and build up those around you, but your words and your attitude also has the power to crush and destroy. Many will join a long list of those who leave. But your efforts are not fruitless, you can say you did your part to help them along the way. With any luck, a newbie might just hang around for a long while and become family.
Together, we can do this!
Words kill, words give life;
they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.
Proverbs 18:21 – The Message