“The first year, I cried a lot. I had big problems. For me, the first year was terrible.”

Such was Lumturi’s experience at her new position at an Albanian school. Though a seasoned English teacher of 25 years, she faced challenges both at home and in the classroom.

Lumturi is not alone.

Bumps happen along the way especially when you partake in new endeavors. So you can expect challenges during your first year of teaching or if you take a new position. According to the National Education Association, 17% of teachers leave their field within the first five years.

But the difference between surviving and sinking can happen with the help of a friend and connecting with other colleagues.

Connecting with other educators is essential. And for Lumturi, an opportunity for connection changed her life.

Lumturi’s friend invited her to an ISP conference where she was able to connect with other educators, in the context of receiving personal and professional training. “I changed personally,” she recalls. “Professionally, it was so helpful.” Lumturi also became involved with monthly meetings organized by Albanian educators who partner with ISP. These monthly meetings provided the structure that helped her grow as an educator and as a person.

Through the monthly ISP meetings, Lumturi learned how she could develop a support system for teachers at her school and be a mentor to them. “[My colleagues] saw the change in me and asked, ‘What made you change?’” Lumturi was happy to share how her involvement with ISP had made a significant difference in her life, both professionally and personally.

Lumturi started a small group for teachers at her school. She saw the difference that a teacher support system could make.

International School Project (ISP) seeks to develop teachers through connecting them with other educators. Many teachers form teacher community groups to stay connected and meet regularly to continue to challenge each other to develop professionally and personally. Support from these groups gives teachers the courage to keep teaching and impact their students in a positive way.

Says Lumturi, “Nowadays it’s a big challenge teaching. It’s not easy. So we should work together.”

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