...I'll start off by saying I'm sorry.
Can you believe it's almost the end of first semester? Me either. This year has flown by in a way that no other year has for me ever. With the introduction of a new curriculum, I think we are all busier, and even the students have commented on how fast the year is going! I thought- ok, I'm teaching the same four preps I had last year, which is kind of crazy, but doable, so this should be no big deal, right?
I'm going to be brutally honest--
I feel as if teachers are being asked to do more and more and MORE every year, and I can't tell you how many times I thought/think/am currently thinking about throwing in the towel. I have found myself googling, "Other jobs for English majors" more than ever in the past few weeks, despite the fact that I absolutely LOVE teaching students how to read and write (especially to write).
My days in the classroom go by quickly, but are full of a lot of joy and excitement and passion that I haven't had in years past. However, when I get home, I'm so exhausted I can barely stand up. My nights and weekends are spent planning, grading, shopping for props, planning, planning, responding to student questions on Edmodo...worrying about students, and making to do lists. And it's not just school, my "real" life is stressing me out, too. I don't think I've ever mentioned before that my husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for about 3-4 years now, and it's always, always, on my mind.
My anxiety has resurfaced so much that my students notice me trying to catch my breath in class and ask if I'm ok. That is not ok to me! I need to be a role model for these students, and I hate that they can see my stress bubbling to the surface in the form of me trying to breathe. :( I hate that they might think it's because of them...because that's only about 2% of the time.
I spent the summer so excited about my calling as a teacher, and I know that blogging about it brings me great joy, so why is it so hard to spend ten minutes crafting a blog post? It just gets pushed to the bottom of my "to do" pile along with reading a good book and spending some quality time with my husband...
I also don't want to give in to the negativity that flows in when teachers say they are tired. Everyone has a comment, "well, just wait till you have kids..." "everyone's job is stressful..." "Teachers complain too much..." My response? I know your life is just as hard as mine, and I never would try to say that it isn't, but this is my life, and the only life experience I have. I can't always lie and pretend that teaching doesn't exhaust me...because let's face it people, when you are doing your job right, be it teaching, stay at home parenting, arguing in court, working retail, or performing surgery, it's tiring. I'm also not saying that I do this "teaching gig" better than anyone else- we all have amazing successes, and amazing failures!
The most important thing to remember is that we choose our jobs for a reason. I choose to teach four preps, it wasn't thrust upon me from my administration, because I like the challenge. I choose to direct drama because I have a burning passion for it. And even though it makes the days long and the time stressful, when we sell out the house like we did last Friday and I see my cast light up when they hear they ROCKED it, it's all worth it.
My favorite moments from the first half of this year that I am thankful for are:
- Introducing Shared Inquiry to my regular classes and watching them prepare and participate better than any other class I've ever seen.
- Using Edmodo with my drama group and watching them encourage each other and respond efficiently to cast notes, thus resulting in a well oiled machine I can proudly call my drama club.
- Having high schoolers voluntarily come and help with drama each day, regardless of their own busy schedules and jobs.
- Showing students technology like Glogster and Wordle and watching them eat it up and create their own projects...just for fun. :)
- Getting the opportunity to create an ET (Gifted) SLC and doing Social Emotional activities and educational games with them
- Noveling with my 8th graders every day during 7th period, and knowing that they are all furiously writing narrative masterpieces driven by an internal fire inside them, which brings me joy and gives me time to work on my novel!
- Seeing the Interactive Notebooks take on a life of their own, and applauding the organizational prowess of 7th graders.
- Assigning FIVE different short story prompts in two weeks, that I will never get a chance to grade, and feeling ok with that, because they are enjoying writing. (FYI- They will pick their favorite and choose to continue and edit it for a final narrative that I will grade)
Notice how I didn't say that I am thankful for that amazing test we wrote at our late start Monday, or the great test practice session I had with students for ISAT, because that is not what makes me feel fulfilled as a teacher. The only fulfillment I can possibly get is knowing that my students are branching out on their own, pushing themselves to be better than they currently are, and being intrinsically motivated to learn on their own for the rest of their lives. This is what teaching needs to be.
I teach so that students will want to continue to learn, not so that they will do well on a test.- sue me. :)
And now for some pictures :)
(Still don't know who wrote that, but much appreciated) :)
Teaching relationships between analogies
Book shopping with the amazing Mrs. Lambert
My makeshift "smart" board :)
"Nerdy" games for SLC
Halloween! (Hipster Supergirl) :)
Noveling with Starbucks...
And the first day of Peppermint Mochas :)
Our FALL PLAY! :)
A low moment--looking up publishers I could potentially work for
The best days ever!
The start of NaNoWriMo!
Veteran's Day Field Trip- Healing Field
My desk by mid-November- aka a TOTAL MESS
A reason to continue..
The cast wall I made at the last minute- which was a hit!
Lovely flowers from students on closing night :)
Hope you all are doing well! Feel free to share some of your thankful moments from the year so far, I'd love to hear them!!