One Year Later, This Is What I Learned
This past year I had a great job, amazing colleagues and a lot of learning experiences. As a first job on a scale of 1-10, it’s a 10. I loved it so much I am staying on next year while finishing up graduate school. They have all been supportive with helping me do my internship semester there which, let me tell you, will not be so easy because the scheduling is a little crazy.
I am blessed on so many levels and so grateful to everyone who made this past year a great one for me. It is unreal: my first year of teaching is over. Sometimes I question whether I can call it my first year because I was not in my own room, did not have to lesson plan, had minimal responsibilities outside of work hours and took direction from others. However, I learned so much I have to call it my first year.
- No class will ever be the same – my student teaching placement last year versus my class this year were worlds apart from one another. The two sections of second graders this past year were completely different. Every class has their own personality and need to be approached in their own way.
- Even “good” days are completely draining – days when the kids are off (before summer, before vacation, right after vacation), behaviors are off the wall or it is impossible to reign them in are exhausting. Keeping up with them and navigating the classroom is draining. On days when we were productive, everyone was engaged, a lot of good learning happened and good conversations were had were equally as tiring. It was a different tired. I had to keep up with them mentally also.
- Every teacher is different – I had the chance to wander in and out of different rooms. I would poke my head into different grades when my second graders were at specials and we did not have a meeting. No classroom ran the same. It amazes me how kids adapt year to year. It will be fun to see how my kiddos do next year in third.
- The kids teach you more than you expect – you might think you have all the answers and want to do it your way (I know I had that feeling about certain subjects or how I wanted them to be in the room). Out of fairness to them, you need to adapt and meet them where they are at. By the end of the year I got to that point and our joint success skyrocketed.
- Breathe – teaching is hard. No matter your position, grade, part time or full time, you need to breathe. There were days I felt so done and frustrated with them. Learn deep breathing, find a moment to re-group and shake off the little things. It got easier for me once I started doing it. I even started to laugh with them and let them see my release. Occasionally we would reset as a whole class. It made me feel human, which is what I needed.