While I was in school working toward earning my teaching credential, I took a class called “Philosophy of Education.” During this course, we read an article originally published in 1990 by the California Department of Education.1 The article included a graph entitled “Phases of first-year attitudes toward teaching.” (See below)
The article described each phase a new teacher typically encounters at various points during the school year. She starts off on an emotional high, anticipating a great year of teaching her rosy-cheeked, bright-eyed, motivated students. By mid-September, however, her attitude toward teaching begins to take a nosedive, as she enters the survival stage. She realizes that she and her students aren’t quite living up to the unrealistic expectations she had at the beginning of the school year. She is simply doing her best to survive the challenges her students present and make sure she has lesson plans done at least one day ahead of time. She begins to wonder why everything is taking so long and she has to stay up until 2 AM just to be prepared for the next day.