You Are Doing a Good Job

Let’s talk about what a good job you are doing!

Chances are, you are reading this because you are an educator – maybe you are a new educator, or perhaps you are not.  Either way, I hope this finds you well and gives you some positivity. 

Let’s be honest here, teaching is not the easiest job in the world.  In fact, it can be quite stressful and difficult at times. I have been around for a while but I still think back on those first few years and cringe.  I mostly cringe because of how hard I was on myself and how hard I worked – I ran myself into the ground and that was no way to live.

A Little Backstory

Prior to becoming a special education teacher, I worked as a paraprofessional.  The school I worked at hired me as a teacher and the pressure I felt in my new position was intense.  In addition to it being my first year teaching, I was also a new mom and a grad student.  It is no lie when I say I let teaching consume me and that it is a major regret of mine.  Now, I am thankful for the road that led me to where I am today because I can share my story and hopefully help fellow teachers with these three tips:

Do What You Can

Throughout the years, I have learned that there are some things at my school that I need to say yes to and there are other things that I need to say no to.  In my first year as a teacher, I said yes to it all which was painful and exhausting.  But guess what?  I was doing a good job then and now when I say no to things, I am still doing a good job.  If you are the person who likes to say yes – you are doing a good job.  Also, if you are the person who says no to all of the extra things at your school – guess what, you are still doing a good job.  After-school activities, clubs, and volunteering your time do not make you good at your job.  You make yourself good at your job.

Buy What You Want (or Don’t)

This is a photo of some books on CD that were purchased with my own money.  You don't need to spend your own money to do a good job.
Alright, here comes a hard one.  Before I had even seen my classroom and its contents, I took out a loan to buy things I thought I needed as an educator. I walked into Lakeshore Learning and bought all of the teacher things.  I hadn’t met any of my students, seen any of their IEPs, or inventoried my classroom yet.  All I knew was that I was going to be teaching a self-contained kindergarten class and that I wanted to be ready for learning on the first day of school. 

Looking back on my intentions, they were good however, now I know that I get a budget every year from the district and I typically don’t need to spend my own money.  Although, I sometimes still spend my own money on things for my classroom or for my students.  Other times, I refuse to.  I no longer feel guilt over either choice and I know I am still doing a good job as an educator.  Regardless of whether or not you spend your own money on your classroom, you are doing a good job.

Leave When you Can

Finally, the last thing I learned after my first few years as an educator, is that I can come at my contract time and leave at my contract time and my job still gets done.  I used to think that I needed to be at work at least half an hour early and I always stayed at least an hour over at the end of the day.  By the time I got home, I had nothing left to give.  I finally couldn’t keep doing it. 

Now, I get to school at my contract time and leave at my contract time most days.  Some days I do get to school earlier and other days I leave later – but that doesn’t define who I am as an educator.  If you are the type of teacher who does not spend a minute over your contract time working, that’s ok.  It’s actually great.  We should make that the norm because we do not (and should not) have to work for free to be good educators.  Remember what I said earlier?  You make yourself good at your job. 


Thank you for reading my post.  For more new educator tips, read this post from Jen.

Now, I want you to tell yourself daily that you are doing a good job.  This is important because I know that you care about your students, I know you have committed to being the best you can be, and I am so proud of you for doing what you are doing.  Keep up the good work!

Michelle Lindenmuth, M.Ed.
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