Instant Impact

News from Baylor School of Education

Kristen Boyd, BSEd ’18 — First-Year Teacher Reflection

Kristen Boyd, Belmar Elementary, Amarillo ISD
First Grade

My name is Kristen Boyd, and I survived my first year of teaching! This year I had a small class with big personalities. I was part of a wonderful team and was lucky to have a great principal. I learned so much this year, had many ups and downs, but I would not change a thing.

From the very beginning, I knew I had to get a handle on student behaviors. Most of my students were quiet and shy as the new year began, but there was one bold student that tried my patience every single day.

There will always be that one student.

I had already established a behavior system for the whole class that seemed to be working, but I had to try a variety of other systems for that one student. It took weeks and weeks before I found a system that worked! It was exhausting to do all of that extra work for one student, but it made me a better teacher. By the end of the year, that student was no longer my main focus. The extra behavior system was no longer needed. That student ended up making my year so fun, and I learned so much from him. Now I look forward to seeing how he does in second grade, and I hope to have him visit my new class as a “guest reader.”

During the first half of the school year, I remember feeling tired, stressed, and overwhelmed. I spent so much time trying to do things perfectly until I finally realized, half way through the year, that teachers are not perfect. Every teacher is different, and every student is unique. We all have to find what works best for ourselves and our students.

After recharging over Christmas break, I returned to school with more confidence. I started to have more fun with teaching and learn more about my students instead of worrying about having the quietest classroom and the best lessons. I started to share new ideas with my team, make changes to my classroom systems, and I began to enjoy my time with my students. By the end of the year, I was not stressed. I felt like a real teacher. My years at Baylor prepared me, and I did not fail.

This year was full of learning experiences. There were many difficult times, but there were also many happy times. As the school year came to an end, I realized how much I loved my students. Each one of them had a big impact on me. Teaching is not an easy job, but it is worth it if it makes your heart happy.

Some final thoughts for future Baylor teachers:

  • You cannot be prepared for everything. Some things are better learned through trial and error.
  • When things get hard, look for the small things, like a low-achieving student finally grasping a tough concept or a student bringing you a picture that they drew for you at home.
  • Have faith in yourself. You graduated from Baylor University, and it wasn’t easy. You got this.