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Getting Help As a Teacher

by Jennifer Cheifetz

There is competition in every job. There is pride in every teacher. However, it is so important for new teachers to recognize the need for, and subsequently ask for, HELP. Even if you feel like you need to know everything and can’t let your guard down, remember that you are in this job for the students, so don’t cheat them just to spare yourself some dignity.

Signs you need help:

• If you feel like you are putting in so many hours that it would just be easier to bring a change of clothes and a toothbrush to school…

• If you feel like the un-graded papers on your desk are stacking up and accumulating more cobwebs than your attic…

• If you feel like the students, parents, and administrators are out to get you...

• If you feel like you have completely prepared your lessons, but now even you are getting confused by long division...

• If you feel like it would have been easier to go to medical school…then YOU NEED SERIOUS HELP!




No one said teaching was easy; rather, no teacher ever said teaching was easy. It takes a lot of work and a lot of practice to feel confident in the job. And, it also takes help. There’s no shame in asking for help, but there IS shame in thinking that you’re too proud or embarrassed to ask for it. Your students and you can only benefit from it.

So, first thing, recognize the need for help. If you’re still reading this article, you’ve done that part.

Second thing, find the right person to ask. This part can be hard, since you’re new and may not know a lot of people. Start with your immediate coworkers, your team, your grade level partners. If they aren’t the ones to ask, did the school give you a mentor? What about your administrator? Ok, maybe you have a friend who is a teacher in another school or district? Call your mom for crying out loud!

Third thing, compose yourself and ask for help. Articulate your needs and concerns, and allow the person (you chose) to help you. It’s doubtful (not impossible) that the person will turn you away with no help. But be clear about what you need. You can’t just go in and say, "Help, I'm drowning." This person needs to know if they should throw you a life jacket, call the Coast Guard, or just jump in with you.

Fourth thing, chill out. Every teacher has been where you are now. This is charted territory. There are resources out there to help you. This website is here to help you, so are the writers of these types of articles. Take a deep breath and realize that you will succeed and you're not alone. Getting help is the first step to "getting back in the boat" and improving. Congratulations!



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