wow... i can't believe i'm actually sitting here, able to write about my first full year of teaching. it has been loaded with ups and downs... and full of surprises. i promised one of my coworkers that i would write a book about everything that happened this year because it was the stereotypical "horrid first year". i don't have the energy or ambition to write a book but it might be fun to look back on these thoughts in a few months (or years)... so here it goes...
i started off the year with a broken nose. i got the flu, got dehydrated (details better left out), passed out, hit my face on the counter and busted my nose. two days later i was in front of my kids and parents for open house. it was an interesting start to the year, but i think it'll make future years much (MUCH) easier. two weeks later i was back in the ER with a terrible stomach virus. it wasn't how i planned on spending my first few weeks but i kept plugging on. i was stressed and overtired most of the year so even when i wasn't hanging out in the ER i still spent a large amount of time sick. i lost my voice completely for several days and had to develop a "sign language" for my kids to get by. i had strep more than once.. an almost constant cold or flu and wacky skin issues (like breaking out in hives during class and having to leave due to "itchiness"). i took minimal sick days considering what i went through because i learned quickly that having a sub was more work than it was worth.
then i think about the kids... i had some trouble right off the bat. kids that i didn't know how to deal with, kids that had needs i didn't feel prepared to meet. i had scissors thrown at a student within the first month, i had suspensions, sexual harassment from students, drugs, weapons... ah, the joys of middle school. a strange thing happened though, about midway through the year... some of these kids that were labeled as "trouble" became my favorites... they were the ones that i looked for each morning to make sure they were there and i worked extra hard to draw them in because i could see where they would end up if they didn't.
and last... and most importantly, i think about the successes, because that's what's giving me the optimism and energy to go back next year. i had some really good "ah-ha" moments during the year. being able to see my reading kids scores improve by one or even two grade levels within six months. having kids tell me that i was their favorite, that they wanted me again next year, that they'd miss me... pulling off a lock in that was against all odds... having other teacher ask me for advice or lesson plans... that is the stuff that makes me think, despite all the stuff from above, that i want to go back and do it all again in the fall.