Letter to a New Administrator

Scott Friedman
Aug 13, 2019

young girl writing a letter

Through the magic of "Twitterverse", I stumbled across this blog post by Chris Lehman from a number of years ago. It is a letter to all young teachers thinking about leaving the profession. As I read the letter, I couldn't help but think what it would read like if I removed the word "teacher" and instead used "school leader".  Applicable? Yes. Moving? Yes. Great read? Heck yes!

Check out this passage. 

I don’t remember where I read it, but I was reading another article that mentioned the oft-quoted stat about how many teachers leave the profession within the first five years, and I was thinking about how many really amazing young men and women I’ve known in my career who fell into that category, and I was thinking about a conversation I had with an old colleague at Beacon and how she said, "Yeah… that year three or four mark, that’s a dangerous time, because that’s when you think you know so much more than you actually do." And I was thinking about my own progression as a teacher and how true that was… And I was thinking about some of the things people who stayed with the profession seemed to embody that the ones who left didn’t. I was thinking about what I want to say to all those teachers who, right around year three or four, start to leave the profession…

Dear Young Teacher Thinking of Leaving,

You’ve stuck with this job for a few years now. You have made it past the hardest few years, but it’s still a really hard job. And you’re at a point where you know a lot about the job, but there’s still a lot to learn. And the things you haven’t learned yet are the some of the things you need to stay with this job. I don’t know for sure that you should stay; after all, people switch professions these days. But here are some of the things it takes longer than three or four years to really, really learn. Some of these are things I’ve had to learn the hard way, some of these are things I’ve seen others learn the hard way, and a lot of these ideas are things that I keep having to relearn all the time.

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