Monday, August 17, 2009

Back Into the Fire

I am a teacher once again.

I accepted an elementary position at a charter school in June. It was a difficult decision. My mindset this summer is a polar opposite from last summer. I'm nervous about teaching a different grade level, about having one group of kids, about surviving in another charter school, about maintaining patience and a personal life.

I think that being a little anxious will help me a bit. Don't they say that pride goeth before a fall? Last summer when I got that other job I was thrilled and thought it would be fantastic. Ha ha. Well, I fell damn near every week, some weeks every stupid day.

You'd think I would learn, eh?

At Original Middle School, I learned how to be a teacher. I learned that pre-teens can easily run a teacher's pride and/or dignity into the ground in about five minutes. I learned that pre-teens still love stickers and silly songs. I learned how to speak firmly and loudly without being mean. I learned how to entertain myself and my students with my lame dry jokes. I learned that I can't stand disruptions in my classroom--which includes mistakes by inept administrators. I learned that I could mold my classroom and make it a pretty great place to be. I learned that I like to learn and try new things and come up with new ideas. I also learned that I have a tendency to take on more than I can chew and have trouble following through with all my awesome ideas. I learned that kids sometimes actually like me. I learned that I will always have an insane parent. I learned that I can be successful and have fun in the classroom.

At First Charter School, I learned how to be humble again. I learned that it's really fucking hard to teach a brand-new subject. I learned how very important it is to have a place to send disobedient students (because I didn't have one). I learned that my awesome management was no good at a new school. I learned that I flounder easily without enough knowledge or support. I learned again that administration makes or breaks a school. I learned that I can't always be successful in the classroom. Part of me felt like I would never be and had never been successful in the classroom.

At Subbing Charter School, I learned that environment matters. I learned again that if there are no consequences, the students will run wild. I learned that I don't like hearing yelling at a school--from students, from teachers, from my own self. I learned that it's not worth it and I don't have to take that kind of crap.

Today was my first day working with New Charter School. I met a few people and took some notes about what I want to do. I didn't learn anything new about teaching or learning or being a charter school. But it was a good reminder of the important things--finding ways to reach the kids and teach them stuff.

I've learned that nothing is a sure thing. I think I can do this.


Angela Watson said...

Apprehension and optimism--yep, sounds like the beginning of a new school year to me. Congratulations on landing a position. Can't wait to read your new adventures. :-)

Dr. G said...

So I went to see Julie/Julia last weekend and found it tremendously engaging. It reminded me of you. I'm glad that you are trying another teaching position. I think you have a lot to offer the students. I'm certain that I'll enjoy reading about what happens next in your life. So thanks for writing and taking photos.

Jaclyn said...

Good luck with your new position! I hope the administrative and school culture are supportive, and you have lovely colleagues!

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yomister said...

Congratulations. I was really hoping that you would return to the classroom. I, too, have returned; this time at a charter with a string reputation. Although my position is both administrative and instructional, I can't wait to get into the classroom again.

I wish you much success.

Nancy Cavillones said...

So happy! Hope your first day back was fantastic. Looking forward to reading some teaching posts again.

Julie said...


Mrs. Ris said...

I love how you reflected on the various lessons learned in your previous situations. It seems to me you are right where you need to be (I'm a big believer in "things happen for a reason") and lucky us, we get to come along your adventure via this blog. Good luck, and have fun!!

Jenna said...

good luck in the trenches :)

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Of course you can do it! You're a teacher!!!

I'm so glad to see that you're back in the classroom. It's where you belong.