Alternately Titled: Time Flies When You’re Having Fun
I posted a little bit about this on my personal Facebook page yesterday, but since most of you aren’t “in real life” friends, I thought I’d share it here too…
Monday marked the start of my EIGHTH year of teaching. Y’all, I seriously can’t believe I’ve been doing this for so long. I will NEVER forget the first weeks of my first year of teaching. I was twenty-three, a newlywed, finishing my Master’s Degree, completely clueless about what I was doing, and a nervous wreck. I vividly remember the new-teacher orientation and work week, and my list of (literally) 1,000 things I needed to do and buy before school started. I probably spent $500.00 on supplies that year (I’m not even kidding, and I didn’t even have my own classroom) and more than 500 hours trying to create the perfect syllabus, lesson plans, etc. I wore a HIDEOUS khaki skirt and solid navy blouse on the first day because I wanted to “look like a professional,” and I had a mini nervous breakdown in the aisle of Staples with my two friends who were also starting their first year of teaching….
One of the things that stands out the most to me in my memories of that first year, is my disbelief at how many “veteran” teachers in my department had been doing this for 20, 30+ years. I honestly COULD.NOT.IMAGINE the energy and effort it would take to keep up this kind-of career for so long. I remember thinking, “I might be able to do this for three or four years, but I could never do it for my whole life…”
And now, just like that, I’ve been teaching for SEVEN years. It’s no lifetime; but, I do feel like it’s a pretty significant chunk… (During that time, I’ve earned my Masters, switched positions twice, become a mom, and turned thirty). But, the truth is, every year goes faster than the last. I seriously can see now EXACTLY how twenty years are gone before you even know what’s hit you. 🙂
It got easier. Not because I “reuse all my lessons” (That’s a total myth of veteran teachers, by the way. I have a basic idea of what I’m doing from year to year now, but I still re-write almost every single lesson and make some pretty significant changes to my curriculum every year.), but because I fell in love with it. I still spend a lot of energy and effort on the day-to-day stuff, but teaching itself comes naturally now. I’m confident in my role. I know why I teach. I know when to ask for help and where to look for resources. And, most importantly, I know that the real things that matter in my profession have very little to do with how high my test scores or evaluation is, and everything to do with investing myself in the lives of teenagers.
The last two days have been GREAT. It’s been fun to see familiar faces, catch up with old friends, and meet my new round of eager freshmen. I even had a student bring me a postcard from her visit to Verona, Italy this summer. 🙂
We wrote our six-word memoirs, drudged through the syllabus, and jumped right in to a discussion of the American Dream.
Year eight… Let’s do this!
How were your first days so far? What do you find gets easier about teaching every year?
I’m not a teacher but I did like your super cute outfits from ON
On the previous post. I never see cute things at ON! Do you mostly shop online or maybe your
Store is just better than mine. Oh, and update on Stitch Fix – its fun. The boxes get better as you go I think. I’ve done 2 so far and only kept a shirt but its something I wouldn’t have otherwise picked up myself. Hoping my 3rd box is a charm!
Madeline @ Create Bake Celebrate says
This is my fourth year (how did that happen!) & things were easier last year. Now we got new textbooks with totally new vocabulary (I teach Latin) & I’m teaching AP this year & coaching. I feel more overwhelmed than ever!
Thanks for sharing! So glad I found your blog! I am starting my first year teaching English and your blog is so helpful – thank you for all the ideas!
You very eloquently said everything that I feel going into my 7th year teaching. Your boards look amazing… great ideas! What gets easier for me is that I know myself more as a teacher and a professional. The first few years I was becoming who I am today. Now I am much more comefortable in my teacher shoes (with arch support!!). We won’t meet our students here in Hampton Roads until next Tuesday…
Aaakkkkkkkk. I misspelled comfortable!!! My eyes!!!!
Eight years. Wow, congrats! I’m not a teacher (obviously) but we just got thrown into the whole school thing with Landon starting kindergarten. His teacher is in her eighth year of teaching K and she seems very competent yet still very thrilled to be teaching. I honestly don’t know how she does it but she seems to LOVE it. She’s definitely in her element. I can’t wait to see what this year in public school holds for our son.
I’m starting my second year on tuesday and I alternate between excited and completely overwhelmed at the thought of doing it again. This is really inspiring and it helps me to believe it will get better. I hope to work on my confidence this year and also make better connections with kids. Enjoy the rest of your week! 🙂
I love Sam’s drawings! So impressed with his skills! 🙂
Great post! I remember my first day 8 years ago like it was yesterday! So funny to think back on now!
Bethany Lammott says
Ah, I love this 6 word memoir. I can’t believe I have never seen it before. I am stealing it for the intro to my Creative Writing class ( we were starting with memoirs anyway) !
Your blog is so inspiring! I just started my seventh year of teaching high school English…and this is my first year at a new school and district. I knew I needed a change to keep my teaching spirit going strong, but I do miss the familiarity of my old school. Like you, I also have a toddler (She just started preschool Monday!) so I am still trying to find that balance of teaching and parenting.
Love all your teaching ideas. I am totally using the missing work log and I did the six word memoirs! I had my students read the chapter, “My Name” in “The House on Mango Street” and then they wrote their own version. Keep sharing your ideas…and I loved seeing the pics of your classroom. Sam’s artwork was my fave!
Stan Smith says
Good information! i teach at an alternative high school. It is hard. I would like a mentor. I need strategies to be effective. This is a self-paced program. I find it difficult to motivate students to take and pass tests.