In her Education Week blog View from the Bronx, English teacher Ilana Garon writes this week about advice for new teachers. The post caught my eye because I was just thinking and writing about new teachers and school librarians here, but I think her advice is even helpful beyond the new teacher audience. Teaching assignments and school administrators shift so regularly, there are almost always new people to meet, welcome, and “live with” as neighbors and colleagues at school.
New teachers, people who aren’t “new” but new to a building, and educators welcoming new colleagues and administrators should remember – and when possible, reach out to others to support – Garon’s smart, succinct strategies like, “find yourself a mentor teacher,” “find yourself a friend,” and “be yourself.”
As educators, we usually focus on what students need to be successful– their learning and thinking skills, their social interactions and compassion for each other, their cultural awareness and understanding, their ethical sensibilities. I read Garon’s blog post as a reminder of something we tend to forget or push aside: that it is important to take some time to focus on yourself and your success. Your “success” as a teacher ultimately enables your students to succeed.