Tales from a beginning teacher

Dayna Martel

The first year of teaching can be a tough slog, as Dayna Martel of Drayton Valley discovered. But in the end, the payoff is priceless.

Day 1

Am I actually in charge of these children? How many are there? What! That is way more than my practicum. Am I ready for this? The bell! Is this what a panic attack feels like? Here they come! Big smiles, I’m on…

That went by fast. It wasn’t so bad. A little chaotic but overall it went well (at least I hope it did). What if the kids didn’t like me? Everyone knows that Day 2 is the most important day. Am I ready for this? What did they teach me at university again? I sure am lightheaded. Did I eat today?

Day 2

I’m here early. My room looks fantastic and child friendly yet educational—it could be featured in a magazine. Morning message, check; schedule on board, check; materials for the rest of the week already organized and ready to go, check, check. I’m ready for the day (or am I?). What if the students get through everything in half the time? What kind of busy yet educational work do I have to extend learning? What if I haven’t adapted the materials enough for the range of my students’ abilities? I should have come in earlier! Here we go again…

Okay, I made it through another day and I’m going to be out of here early. What time is it anyway? How did it get to be 6:45!? Didn’t the students just leave?

Week 2

Last week was amazing! The students love me and listen to me. I’m ready for my evaluation (or am I?). My lessons are going to have to be beyond outstanding. Maybe I should start a club, join the library team and bake brownies for the staff. Is that the bell? I’m in over my head!

I’m calm now. I’m going to join the library team but put the other things on hold. Whoops! I failed to allot time for sleep in my original plan. I’m doing a good job here. I can do it! Week 3, here I come!


Things are going well. My class is running smoothly and there are no management issues. I finished my first units right on time. I’m getting into quite a routine. October is going to be my month. What did I have to have ready for the assembly next week? Thanksgiving is next week—just when things were settling down…


Just two more report cards and I can send them to my principal. He’s going to be impressed when I hand them in two weeks early. I’m feeling good about teaching. I’m respected and appreciated, and all those hours of hard work have paid off. Sure, it’s still scary sometimes, but I know I can do it. Bring on the interviews…

Dayna Martel teaches Grade 2 at Eldorado Elementary School in Drayton Valley.

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