35 Teachers Told Us What They Were Most Afraid Of Their First Year


The first year of teaching can be a rollercoaster of emotions, as new teachers face a myriad of challenges and triumphs in the classroom. Some fears stem from uncertainties, managing classroom dynamics, or even concerns about how to connect with their students. To gain a better understanding of the experiences and insights of those who have come before them, we asked 35 teachers what they were most afraid of during their first year. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Losing control of the classroom.

2. Not understanding the curriculum well enough.

3. Having parents question my authority or knowledge.

4. Failing to connect with students on a personal level.

5. Struggling with time management and organization.

6. Not knowing how to properly support students with special needs.

7. Being judged or criticized by colleagues for my teaching methods.

8. Having ineffective communication with parents.

9. Managing behavior issues in the classroom without losing my cool.

10. Failing to keep students engaged and interested in material.

11. Finding out that one of my students was being bullied or struggling with mental health issues.

12. Struggling to create an inclusive classroom environment for diverse learners.

13. Worrying about performance evaluations and job security.

14. Facing high expectations without adequate support from administration.

15. Navigating delicate relationships with coworkers and staff members.

16. Dealing with the pressure of standardized testing.

17. Adapting lesson plans to address various learning styles and needs within the classroom.

18. Feeling overwhelmed by paperwork and grading responsibilities.

19. Questioning whether I had chosen the right profession after all!

20. Wondering if I would ever have real “teacher voice” or command respect from students.

21. Juggling personal life, work-life balance, and self-care while working long hours.

22. Overcoming the fear of public speaking in front of a classroom.

23. Keeping up with ever-changing educational standards, trends, and policies.

24. Balancing discipline and maintaining rapport with students.

25. Not doing enough for my struggling students.

26. Establishing boundaries between work and personal life.

27. Complying with strict school policies without compromising a creative, engaging classroom experience.

28. Handling emotionally-charged situations and difficult conversations with parents or students.

29. Receiving negative evaluations or feedback from superiors.

30. Coping with feelings of isolation as a first-year teacher when facing challenges alone.

31. Learning to differentiate between constructive criticism and negativity from colleagues or administrators.

32. Keeping my own personal biases in check when dealing with sensitive topics or controversial issues in the curriculum.

33. Staying motivated and passionate about teaching in spite of daily challenges and setbacks.

34. Adapting to the classroom culture and dynamics within a new school community.

35. Ensuring that I was growing as an educator every day.


The first year of teaching can indisputably be both challenging and rewarding. These fears shared by experienced teachers reflect genuine concerns that many first-year educators encounter as they embark on their journey in the world of education. By understanding these fears, new teachers can better prepare themselves, remain open to learning experiences, seek support from colleagues, and—at the end of it all—emerge stronger educators for their students’ benefit.

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