The worst thing about being a first year teacher is knowing you’re a first year teacher.
My mom’s friend Alex reads this blog. He is a pretty cool guy (like he may have been California’s Teacher of the Year in 2009 and he was my boss for a bit) and his wife is a editor. He told my mom that I need an editor but that no 24 year old thinks they need an editor. Well, you are wrong I more than think that, I know it. So Alex, if you know anyone with spare time could you have them call me? I’d both like to know how they have spare time and if they are a good editor. Until then you all will have to put up with the fact that I have no grammar skills and that, as I would have said in middle school, I don’t give a care.
We are at this moment 14 weeks in to school. I had to count that twice because I didn’t believe it. I am over three months in to my first year teaching and here’s what I can tell you about being a first year teacher from my experience:
- No one in the credential program prepares you for quite how little you actually know. For example, your beautiful life of having two preps and a master teacher are OVER. You now have 4 preps and 142 students and at any given day you suck at at least 1 of those classes. This happens especially when you feel like one prep went super well because then you realize that you really didn’t put as much time in to the other 3. Well, crap.
- Somedays you suck at everything. I mean literally you are the kid would didn’t know that that one copier gets permanently jammed if you hole punch stuff so you hole punched 37 packets and now everyone hates you. You may also fall off a desk. (not that that’s ever happened to me)
- You are going to have moments where you remember why you decided to do this and they are going to be awesome.
- No matter how many times people tell you you are doing a good job it is really really hard to believe. This may be just me. I just can’t seem to feel like I am doing good enough. Dr. Lawler says if you don’t feel that way then you are probably doing something wrong. He’s smart so you should listen to him. I do.
- You need people to talk to. Get 100 of them or a cat. I talk to Mulligan, he looks at me then runs away to play with a twist tie. It’s cool I just keep talking.
- If you’re reading this and you went to my credential program or a similar one, congrats! You have no idea how good your program was. Bummer! BSTA is the program all over again for people who had craptastical programs. Also, often professional development has a very similar feeling. Do your best to take one really solid thing back so you can tell your principal you learned.
- The more I read the better teacher I become. Now I don’t read like Jason who I swear has 249 blogs in his reader and is usually reading about 4 books at the same time. But here’s what I try to do. I look at every article someone recommends, I read about 10-15 blogs and I am rereading a lot of the credential books.
- THE CREDENTIAL BOOKS ALL HAVE CONTEXT. Hello, professors thanks for all these great books I didn’t even get they were important til now
I wanted to make this list go to 10 but alas I only have 8 things I want to talk about in that format so 8 it is. And who says 10 is a nicer than 8. 8 is a cube root. way cooler.
The other thing I feel like no one could have really prepared me for is this november wall I have hit. So for a little background I packed up my whole life and moved to northern california 450 miles from my family (who are stellar) and friends (who are pretty rad) to do this teaching thing that I have wanted to do since I was 15. Well November is hard. I miss my old home, I don’t love my living situation and I know vacation is soon but it seems a thousand miles away. It’s really hard to feel like this and not let it affect your teaching. I sit at my computer not doing anything. I don’t plan or read or even looks at things. I just sit and stare. I am a champion starer.
Thank god for Kate Nowak’s Row Games I used 3 different ones in classes this week and my kids were enthralled. My eighth graders were quiet for the first time in a while. They worked hard and compared answers and helped each other. It was beautiful. I am just so happy to have all these internet resources it is good for my life and sanity.
I want to apologize lack of focus in this post. I’m gonna end with some upsides:
- I am going home in 4 days!!!!
- I only have to teach 3 classes monday and tuesday.
- I get to get new glasses this week. I’m seriously thinking Clark Kent style.
- I am moving in two weeks to my own place!
- I have a rad cat name Mulligan who is currently sitting in the empty bathtub.
- You are reading this. major upside.
You are only a first year teacher one year. Then you get to screw up in all new ways year two.