Sunday, November 17, 2013

Life as a first year teacher: Trimester 1

I am one third of the way through my first year of teaching.  It is hard.  It is fun.  It is scary.  It is frustrating.  It is confusing.  It is empowering.  It is exhausting.

I am exhausted.  Anyone that says that teachers have it easy and get lots of time off has absolutely no idea what they are talking about.  I regularly spend several hours a night on weeknights and time on weekends grading or planning.  I am getting up at 6:00 every morning (and as I've said before, I'm not a morning person) and I was spoiled by getting enough sleep in Albania that in order for me to function, I have to go to bed by 10:00.  More than the sleep thing though, is the mental exhaustion.  Most days I get home and my brain is just tired.  It is hard to do more than collapse in a pile on my bed and watch bad tv shows.  I have seen very little of my friends and family since school started. 

I am empowered.  It really is amazing being in the classroom and seeing students change and grow.  They are doing that, and I am helping them do that!  My students are amazing and when I see them succeed I feel like I am succeeding.  I feel empowered and powerful in the best way.

I am confused.  There are so many things to navigate as a new teacher.  District, school and classroom politics and policies can be overwhelming.  Nothing quite makes sense and I sometimes just have to sit back and hope that things will just work themselves out.

I am frustrated.  Some of the things that just don't make sense can also be super frustrating.  Why are they making us do it that way?!? What am I doing wrong?  Why isn't this kid responding to this? Why don't they turn in their homework?!

I am scared.  I live in a little bit of fear every day that I am doing something totally wrong, that this will be the day that my class completely falls apart and just when that happens the Superintendent is going to walk into my classroom and see the utter chaos that is reigning.  I am terrified that I am a bad teacher and that I will fail my students.  I lose sleep at night worrying that my students won't be successful in my class and I won't be able to teach them what they need to know to be successful later in life. 

I am having fun.  I am trying every day to have fun.  I am having fun teaching and I hope that my students are having some fun learning.  I am definitely having fun with my colleagues.  I love the teachers that I am working with and as a team we have done a really good job of making sure we are having fun.

It is hard.  Teaching is hard.  It is hard to get up every day and be on.  It is hard to go to school every day and not fail my students.  It is hard to make decisions every day that effect the lives of my students and not know if they are the right decisions.  I don't know that I've every pushed myself as much as I have for the past three months.  I am pushing myself every day to be the best teacher that I can be for my students and it is hard.  But it is worth it.

I am one third of the way through my first year of teaching.  It is amazing.