A Letter to Myself as a First Year.


Dear First-Year Ms. Jonte,

Buckle up. Here’s how this is going to go. You’re going to FALL in LOVE with your kids. You’re going to love every ounce of them as soon as you see their names on a class list. They’re going to be hilarious, rambunctious, energetic, and joyful all rolled into one. They’ll cheer you up on your lousiest day. They’ll make you laugh more than you ever have before. They’ll also drive you crazy, but I promise you’ll laugh at it when you pull into the driveway at the end of the day.

But not everyday is going to be sunshine and rainbows. You understand the level of hard work that this takes. You’ve been warned about THAT by, well, society. But, there’s also going to be tragedy in mini and major forms. Know that you’ll handle those situations with as much grace and love as you are capable. And that’s enough.

You’re job is to SHOW UP. Everyday. With YOUR very best.

Please do not look as Ms. Smith down the hall and think that because HER best looks different than YOUR best means that you’re somehow less of a teacher. It just doesn’t work like that. The universe works in mysterious ways. Your kids have YOU this year for a REASON. So lean in. Trust it.

And by the way. There is this thing called self-care. I know you haven’t heard of it before because you were a music major. It’s ok. You NEED to know what it is now. So figure out your nonnegotiable self-care measures, and STICK TO THEM. People will tell you, “Oh, it’s just your first year.” It. Doesn’t. Matter. Others may lead you to feel GUILTY that you don’t work 80-hour weeks. It. Doesn’t. Matter. They aren’t you. You are a HUMAN BEING. Put on your oxygen mask first, before you pass out trying to save someone else. You’re no good to anyone if you pass out. That doesn’t make you brave.

Be brave enough to know what you need. Be bold enough to go after it.



Present-day Jasmine


Still loves her kids beyond all measure

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