Asking for help is a sign of weakness. This is a message I received as I prepared for job interviews when I began my teaching career. I was told to never ask what types of supports are in place for first year teachers because asking that question would make me seem like a weak candidate. While beginning my career, I believed that I had to constantly act like everything was perfect. It’s funny to think that as teachers, we can feel frustrated when our students don’t seek out our help, but we are hesitant to ask for help ourselves.
I’m sure that many people feel this way when they first begin a job. They believe they must smile and say, “Great!” when people ask how things are going. They feel they can never admit to feeling stressed or unsure.
Now I am in my third year of teaching and I have quickly realized that there is nothing weak about asking for help and support. While I am not a first year teacher, I am teaching high school for the first time, so I do feel like a first year teacher in many ways. I am learning things about teaching. I am learning that some classroom management strategies that worked well in middle school do not work in high school. I often feel overwhelmed.
Instead of masking these emotions and pretending that everything is peachy keen, I recently decided to open up to a few colleagues about my struggles. My honesty was met with empathy. My colleagues saw me as strong and dedicated to my profession. My colleagues saw my passion and my love for students. Asking for help was brave. No one feared that I was a weak teacher.
Asking for help led to me receiving the support I was looking for. I felt relieved. I felt less alone. I felt better about myself as a teacher. I did not feel weak.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are struggling in your career right now or in your personal life, I encourage you to ask for help. What’s the worst that can happen if you ask for help? The answer to that question will probably help you realize that it is probably better to ask for help than suffer in silence.
“Sometimes asking for help is the most meaningful example of self-reliance.” – Unknown