Peaks and Valleys of the School Year

My first year teaching, somebody showed me a graphic similar to the Phases of First-Year Teaching. I’d also seen the research that 35% of teachers leave the profession during their first year and half of teachers leave the profession within the first five years. That visual of the Phases of First-Year Teaching stared at me, and I knew there was some truth to it.

Imagine a “U” extending for August to June. At the beginning of the year, new teachers are excited and filled with anticipation. As they move through September and October it becomes survival mode. November to January is a valley at the bottom of the “U.” This valley of disillusionment is brought on by nonstop stress, work, and the belief that things are not going as smoothly as they’d like. From February to the summer, teachers make the upturn through rejuvenation, reflection, and eventually back to anticipation for the next year.

Here’s a more light-hearted take on the phases of teaching.

Whether you’re a new teacher or a 20-year veteran, there are times throughout the school year which are more difficult than others. This time of year seems especially stressful for teachers. One of the messages shared with me as a new teacher: make sure you’re taking care of yourself and looking out for other teachers. It’s great advice for anybody in the profession, regardless of their years of service.