And the school year begins!

I finally have my head enough above water to be able to do something other than straight teacher things.  I know that I will quickly plummet back into the water of new teacher-dom, so I will take the opportunity to reflect on these last couple of weeks while I can :)

-For those who don't know, I am teaching 9th Grade Geography and 10th Grade World Civilizations.  I have a packed class schedule with packed desks.  (One of my classes has 40 students! And the others are at about 38! And I have no T.A. to help me grade!).

-The week before school started was one of the worst weeks of my life--not trying to be too dramatic.  Aaron was out of town, I was living in an empty apartment by myself, I started coaching soccer, I had no time to get lesson plans/real classroom decorating done, and I received my first "nasty e-mail" which broke me for about two days.  Everything got better though when Aaron drove back in to town!

-I have great mentors at the school.  I feel so blessed to work somewhere where my co-workers are rooting me on.  I have a large learning curve--getting to know how the school works, how the athletic department works, how effective teaching works--and everyone is so eager to answer my questions.

-Soccer has been a blessing and a bother.  I love the girls and they are the reason that I want to stick it out.  They are excited to see me at school and say hi to me in the halls.  I even have some of them in my classes!  Coaching soccer makes me feel apart of the school on a whole new level, which I'm loving.  On the other hand, soccer has also been the cause of stress and tears and late nights for me.  I would gladly turn the scheduling and the behind-the-scenes drama of school athletics over to any one any time.  Any takers?  Just kidding.

-School started on Tuesday, August 21st with a day just for freshmen to get acquainted with the school and their teachers.  They are so cute and little!  I hope that day helped them because it was definitely a good warm up for me.
-Real classes officially started on Wednesday, the 22nd and boy was there a lot of work to do.  My to-do lists have been a mile long every day and they just get longer and longer (i.e. make seating charts, copy the syllabus, update the class blog, organize my desk, e-mail the ESL district lady, develop a system to pass in papers, haul textbooks up 3 flights of stairs, schedule the library, etc. etc. etc.).   I did not feel ready at all that first day.  I never realized that teachers had to be actors/actresses pretending to know all and have all figured out when the reality is sooo not that at all.

-Again, the students are what make it worth it.  I worked really hard that first day to try and develop a relationship with my students.  Of course, everyone thinks I am in high school myself so I have to work especially hard to show them I am in charge, that I am the teacher, that I have boundaries and that I deserve respect. While doing my student teaching, I was very much always "the teacher" and I never really let anyone see me as me.   There are good things about that, but it is exhausting to put on a different persona everyday.  I am working at being myself always because I think I can be a better teacher that way.

-I was a zombie after that Wednesday day of classes.  My throat was raspy and my feet were throbbing.  It was a good day though.  I just need to get used to standing and talking for five hours straight.
-Hormones are a-raging with my high school boys.  Wow, do they have hormones!  Even if they don't say anything, it is written all over their faces--they care about how the look, they want to be cool at all times, they worry their voice will crack, they are all about the ladies, they want you to like them.

-My job is so satisfying.  I really felt that yesterday, on my second day with my students (we are on a block schedule).  They got what we learned.  They really got it AND they even seemed to enjoy it.  I felt like I had the perfect amount of direct instruction/small group work/individual work/application/synthesis/critical thinking/etc/etc (you know, all those teacher buzz words that you throw out in an interview to impress).  As the day ended, I thought to myself, "Wow, that is how it's done!"
-One aspect of my job that I am especially loving (granted it's only the first week) is helping those students who are struggling in some way--learning English as a second language, coping with learning disabilities, coping with medical or life issues.  There is something SO satisfying when you see a student that was struggling now succeeding because of something YOU purposefully did to help them in that lesson.  They are just so cute too.  Sure, they can be a little slower at completing assignments but they sooo want to succeed.

-I was going off of two hours of sleep and a bag of Doritos for most of Friday .  Don't know how I was standing, but it was actually my best day yet.  I finally really ate when we went to dinner at a great pizza place for Matt Shipley's birthday.  Here are our cute little dessert cannoli's.  So good!
-Aaron has proven to be an even more wonderful husband than I could have ever imagined (don't know how he did it, because he is always off the charts anyways).  He has single handedly held down the fort for us.  He has cooked dinners, run errands, helped decorate my classroom, attended soccer games, consoled my tears, rubbed my sore feet, sent encouraging text messages and made me take breaks when needed.  He has tried desperately to stay awake with me on my near all-nighters even though his eyelids can barely stay open.  He has not complained or asked for more attention, but has just been there for me.  He is so good.

I hope that that was a good snapshot of teaching life for me right now.  There have been ups and downs, but I must say that I love my job and I love life.  My biggest goal this year is to maintain balance.  I'm bound and determined to read my scriptures, attend the temple, spend quality time with Aaron, exercise regularly, see friends and family, and enjoy life all why teaching.  I don't think I have that balance down yet but I'm getting there.

Now Aaron and I are off to spend our Saturday acquiring much needed things for our new apartment (extension cords, water purifiers...you know, the really exciting things:)).  Hope you have a great weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Aww Leeny, I'm sure you're such a great teacher! Good luck adjusting to everything, I had no idea so much went into teaching high school! How fun that you are a soccer coach too :)