Weekly Reflection: Turn and face the strain
Still don’t know what I was waiting for… And my time was running wild…
I’m older Beginning Teacher. I’ve already had ten years out in the workforce so I was well aware of the major shock to the system that occurs when you go from being a university student whose days and nights are almost entirely your own to command to the demands of work where they expect you to be at a certain place at a certain time. After 18 months of not being in full time employment, these last two months have been a bit of a shock to my system. No longer could I decide to blow off study for the day to go out for lunch with a friend or spend a summer afternoon stand up paddle boarding. For the last 9 weeks, I’ve had bells telling me when to teach and when to eat, I’ve had meetings, emails to answer which frequently demand my attention right that minute.
Despite my grumbles, I quite like this new life. I’ve learned so much in these 9 weeks and the odd thing is the fulfilment in the huge light bulb moments of student learning or big events but in the little things. Kids following classroom routines or parroting something you taught them back to you. Getting kids to that point has tested me in ways I never thought possible and I’ve enjoyed the stimulation which comes in solving puzzles of classroom practice.
Every time I thought I got it made… It seemed the taste was not as sweet…
Yet still I find frequently find myself back at square one. For every day I might go home buzzing about classroom successes there are at least two or three where I go home utterly despondent. Lessons that went awry, forgetting to take the roll, still not having got items a, b and d done on my to do list even thought they’ve been staring me down for
days weeks. I start out the week hopeful that *this* will be the week I will finally get my act together and get down to some *real* teaching.
Of how the others must see the faker…
Classroom observations hang over me like the Sword of Damocles. I’m still utterly convinced that I’m one observation away from the jig being up. Someone is going to realize that I’m one of those bad teachers we all keep reading about, that at times I’m still blindly feeling my way around the classroom and not particularly effective at my job right now. What terrifies me is things I don’t know I’m missing that I am missing. Is there something obvious I’m not doing that six months down the track is going to cause major problems?
I’m much too fast to take that test.
These days my world seems a lot smaller than I am used to. Even with mobile web access I feel like I have very little idea of what is going on in the world outside the confines of my classroom. I see things in passing but no longer connect with major news stories, haven’t seen any of the latest series of Glee and know there are friends I should actually catch up with instead of saying I’m going to catch up with. How did it almost become the end of term 1? I’m not sure. Yet despite running myself around in circles I don’t feel that I’ve accomplished all that much this term.
But as I head towards the final two weeks of term, I do so in the knowledge that this too shall pass and at some point a new normal might start to emerge from the craziness that is the first term of teaching.