Today, a colleague walked by my room nodded my direction and asked "how are things going?" And I responded with the simple truth...Great! I love it!
And I wasn't lying I love it. I 100% believe I made the right decision for myself in my career and in the long-run for our family. This is where I'm meant to be. I know it. That clarity has been so comforting this school year. This change is everything I didn't know I needed and I'm SO GRATEFUL that I had the courage to step out there and challenge myself. I love it!
And as I walked back in my room a thought crept into my head... He doesn't really want to know the FULL truth to that question.
But maybe he needs to.
And so do you.
You see...so many times we get caught up in the moment of posting the awesome. The things that make us proud to be a teacher. The things that validate everything we do and inspire others to become teachers. We don't do this to mislead anyone...it's the fun stuff. It's the stuff that we get excited about and what to shout out from the roof tops...or "tweet" from virtual tree branches.
But that's only part of the story. Part of the truth.
So here's the whole truth. The entire thing. Here's how I'm REALLY doing.
I am STRUGGLING. I am working harder than I have worked in years, only to find myself constantly behind. And not just behind in my grading...behind in it all. Everything. And when I actually get somewhere, Oh yeah...no I didn't, cause now there's this to do.
I LOVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS. I absolutely love being around their quirky energy. The "bros" and VSCO girls. I love their sarcasm, their hearts, their ideas, their goofy dance moves they do to the "walk in songs" I play each day. I LOVE the conversations we have.
I'm LITERALLY one page ahead of the kids in the book. Some of this content I haven't even looked at in over 15 years. Some...even longer. Some I can't recall ever having it. I mean, I made a model Mayan City out of candy in 6th grade, that counts right? Teacher Pay Teacher has saved me more often than I like to admit. I am grateful for those...but tired of not having the comfort of knowing it. I know it will come. I'm trying to be patient with myself.
I cannot say enough about the awesome people I get to work with. Having a team to bounce ideas off of, supportive administration, trust, getting evaluated by someone who doesn't already "know me". There are so many great people to learn from and being a part of that energy is unbelievable. I miss friends I left back in Cheney. I would love to go have a drink and catch up with them...but there isn't time. I have an awesome PLN that will support me and share resources on a moment's notice. I am so thankful for those people!
I spend hours every weekend working. I go up to the school for 3-4 hours on a Saturday or Sunday and then work in the evenings. People...this is not dedication. This is SURVIVAL. You don't walk into a high school class without a plan. You. Just. Don't.
I fail daily. I realize within the first 15 minutes of class that I should have done something differently. My lesson notebook is riddled with sticky notes of ways to improve a lesson. I also succeed daily. I find ways to push kids out of their comfort zones and explain how and why the activity we're doing is relevant. I will apologize to these kids when they graduate. Next semester's class will get so much better, and the class after that, and after that...
That's been one of the hardest things. Knowing how much better I can be, but lacking the ability to be there right away. Giving myself the GRACE to get there.
I am CONSTANTLY shifting gears. I get excited and start making headway in my World History class...I'm pumped! But have to stop. Time to think of dinner, 2nd grade homework, laundry, and play with the baby. Read to my 2 year old, find Halloween costumes, and help the 5 year old with her sight words. Kiss my husband hello. Shifting gears. Stopping mid-thought to work on another "to-do" list that's overflowing.
I am gaining my students TRUST. They were "doubters" in the beginning when I told them that I LOVE this profession and it's my goal that they know every single day, there is no where else I'd rather be than in the classroom with them. They're awesome. They're starting to believe me. I have students who love my class. I have students who confide in me. I have students who give me a fist bump everyday and some who stop by when they don't have to just to say hello.
I have students who hate my class. Who love to find little moments to make sure I know how much they hate history and think it's worthless. I love them too. I'm working on winning them over. It takes time.
I am NOT doing this alone. I have a support system that is making it all possible. My husband has been so supportive and helpful with this shift. We knew this first year would require more work for me than I usually do outside the classroom. But I don't know if either of us were truly ready for it. He has stepped up in a big way and helped to ease some of the guilt I feel for missing out on the things at home while I turn through pages of material at the school.
I have laughed and cried. I have fallen asleep early each night this week, with full intentions of working after the kids went to bed. I have a presentation to have ready in a couple weeks. Haven't started. I am exhausted.
Even as the list keeps growing and the days get shorter, I am THANKFUL to be where I am. I know this is making me stronger and better in the classroom. But that doesn't mean it's all a bed of roses and things are great all the time. I struggle daily.
And I love it all.