Teaching Is Hard
I have officially made it through the first quarter of the school year as a teacher. I have survived the open house, the first day of school, the first unit, and parent-teacher conferences. Throughout it all, I have learned one thing:
Teaching is hard.
There is absolutely no escaping it; I have entered a very difficult profession. All day I manage 20-some twelve-year-olds, every afternoon I try to prepare for the next day of teaching, and all night I worry if my students have a safe place to go and if they’ll be proficient on the standardized tests.
Throughout the last three months, I’ve learned how to enter grades in the gradebook, fulfill IEP accommodations, work with a personal learning community, and create formative assessments.
Again and again I’ve learned that teaching is hard, but I’ve learned more than that:
Second period loves to do Dance Fridays. The seventh grade girls love to be creative and help decorate the classroom.
If I bring up NFL teams, I better be prepared for a Raiders vs. Broncos debate. Many of my students have extremely difficult home lives and I am amazed that they even make it to school every single day. Class goes tremendously better if I greet each student at the door with a smile.
The struggling readers will push-back and avoid reading at all costs if I let them. Eighth period comes with so much energy and vigor for life I can’t help but be inspired. Many of the seventh grade boys love to long board, and they’re grateful I let them keep their boards in the classroom.
But one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that
If I take a genuine interest in my students, it makes all the difference in the world.
Times this past quarter I felt like I was drowning underneath all of the relationship building, paperwork, and failed classroom management moments. There have been times when I’ve cried at home, in the car, during planning.
There have also been times when I feel like teaching is exactly what I need to be doing.
I’ve had students be inspired to fill an entire writer’s notebook in the first quarter. Other students have read a book from the classroom library and have taken it home so their moms can also read it. After reading Andrew Smith’s Winger, a student told me, “I now have an all-time favorite book.” These moments keep me going through the meetings, trainings, and tears because I know I’m doing it for the kids.
I’ve learned a lot this quarter and I’m truly looking forward to learning a whole lot more.