Teaching is hard. I’ve already mentioned this. But lately all I’ve been hearing is how I’m going to break down my first year (because every one does), how I’m going to want to quit my job (ESPECIALLY if I work in an urban setting), how I’m going to be incredibly stressed out (since things come up during the day that messes with my “teacher time”), and how I’m going to think I’m going crazy because I can’t do this and I can’t do that…the list continues.
Will I? Really?
I’m not saying I do not value the experiences and opinions of those sharing their stories with me. After all, they have way more experience that I do at this point. Yet, it frustrates me; their comments are my pet peeve of the moment.
Maybe it’s because I’ve always had to balance in-school and extracurricular activities. Maybe it’s because my parents always insisted I take care of my school work first. Maybe it’s because I played softball at a D1 school and only found myself on campus 3 days a week in season. Maybe it’s because I double degreed as an undergrad and am now working on two masters, too. Maybe it’s because I am almost OCD when it comes to organization. Maybe I’m just naive and have no idea what’s in store for me. Maybe …
I think the fact that teaching IS a challenge is part of the reason I’m attracted to the profession (besides just wanting to help people learn and learn more about literacy myself). I mean I’ve done a lot of editing/writing/public relations work in the past. In fact, though I was only the assistant for the communications office, I practically was the director. And yet, the director was “stressed” for reasons unknown to me, even though I was the one doing the work, monitoring the interns, and being a student, too. This didn’t just happen with one PR job; it happened a few times. And each time, I’m looking around me going, yeah, there are CRAZY deadlines and turnaround schedules, but seriously, why so stressed? My point to this story is that the work was sort of “easy” to me; I found that I was bored more then I was engaged. Thus, I like the idea of entering into a classroom where I’m brining something new into the room and each of my students are bringing something new into the room, which essentially creates the challenge of creating a successful learning environment. (Maybe I just like to be challenged.)
I look at my CT sometimes and ask myself why is she so stressed? “Well, planning this…” and “I’ve got to get this information here…” I can’t help but wonder why. Lessons do not always go the way we want them to. Students don’t always act the way we want them to. Administrators make faculty meetings run over. Teachers make ignorant comments. Parents are unreasonable. You want a life, too. The list continues. Still aren’t there challenges with any type of job you choose? (Think: An accounting statement off by decimals. A missed touchdown pass. A down electrical wire. Not enough influenza shots. A crashed computer.) I mean, isn’t this why we are told to love what we do for all the little things that can wear you down?
Now, I know some people are immediately going to come back and talk about testing and standards and the like. We all have them. They aren’t going anywhere. So why not accept that, step out of the box, and think about how we can best engage and challenge our students (and ourselves!) to meet curriculum testing demands?
Maybe I’m hard headed. Maybe I’m just weird. Maybe I’m missing the picture here (but am I really?). Maybe I just really want to teach.
Whatever the reason, in the end, I really believe I’m going to be OK. And I think everyone in my cohort will be OK, too. Things are going to be hard. Yes. There will be some days I may not want to teach anymore. Yes. But I’m going to be OK. And if things don’t go as “planned,” maybe it just means I take a step back, take a deep breath, and re-think why things didn’t go OK. (Think: action research)
I don’t mind being called the overly optimistic, naive, “crazy” new teacher. I want to try things others with experience have done and try new things that maybe no one has done. And I think the key to all of this is the desire I have to continue to LEARN myself. Learn from other teachers, my own experiences, my students, etc.
When people doubt me, it motivates me. Greatly.
Maybe I will cry every day of my first year teaching.
(I really just want to teach.)