Joanna Malefaki has created an amazingblog challenge, where teachers write to their younger selves, called the #YoungerTeacherSelf blog challenge. I have added the hashtag to our #edblognz site. I found the link on my twitter buddy Vicky Loras blog.
I started teaching the year I was married. I won a position in my local area and in my local parish. A decade later I shifted cities and returned to teaching and my studies as a single mother with my two pre school boys. Here is my letter to my younger teacher and single mother self.
Dear young me.
Upgrade your teaching diploma to a degree as soon as you can and do it before you become a mother.
You will have an amazing teaching life. Later on you will focus more on the teachers and you will still want to work with children. An opportunity will come where you are asked to teach in a Samoan bilingual unit well before you are ready. Take this chance and put your own children through a Samoan aoga. That way your sons will be bilingual like you.
A chance will come to lead a school so take it. All your studies will pay off as really you are the best person for this position.
Learn to stand up for yourself a lot earlier and focus on teachers who are keen to learn with you. You know instinctively that technology is here to stay so continue to focus on being a change maker in education.
Choose your schools carefully. Do not work in a school that has no infrastructure in place. You will just waste years where you could be learning with your learners. Trust your first impressions of your head teachers. That instinct will prove to be accurate.
Your later years of teaching will bring you much joy. Start blogging a lot earlier for reflection. As fabulous as your class blog is, it really is only fleeting. Personal blogging will clarify your thinking and allow you to develop as a writer. As your personal writing develops so will your teaching of writing.
Do not let your training teachers borrow your hand drawn song charts. You will not get those back. Give your novels away. Lending them is just heart breaking as you will not get them back. Don’t waste your precious money buying teaching books. Soon a phenomena called the internet will make all that expense collect dust. Stop collecting old calendars to create number cards for your students. Soon you can photocopy them. You know that pile of music you did photocopy? Don’t, because copyright laws will come into force and you will end up burning them all.
You will meet some incredible educators all your life. So start collecting those selfies early. Take lots of photos of your class displays. Even if photos are expensive, just do it. It will be great to show what your first classroom looked like. Also write down some of the hilarious and honest things that children say.
As you shift houses for the third time, do not throw out those early teaching plans. They will make a great comparison of what is now expected of teachers today. You can also prove that you had neat handwriting and that yes planning was handwritten every week.
Start learning Chinese earlier and work harder to maintain your Japanese and your French. Another chance will come to teach overseas, take it and take your boys. They will adapt.
Get your life and work balance in order early. Take better care of your physical health because you will face greater challenges that will make taking care of yourself a low priority.
Celebrate your successes and be proud of what you have achieved. Don’t forget to smile and use a gentle voice. Remember to tell your sisters how amazing they are because you can not get to your future life without them.