Back to school, back to school, to prove to dad I’m not a fool

So I am completely in over my head right now.

Okay, perhaps that is an exaggeration, but . . . wow, oh, wow . . . is real teaching NOTHING like student teaching. I mean, sure, there are some similarities: waking up early and lesson plans. But the management, the paperwork, the faculty meetings, the Act 48 hours – none of that you get during student teaching. And I have to tell you: I had a really really awesome student teaching experience. So that first week of real teaching? Maybe nothing can truly prepare one for that.

I should say now that while I know a few posts again I said I would probably be blogging a lot about turning “green,” now that teaching has truly taken over my life, much of this blog will be dedicated to that. I should also add that as a professional, I need to be careful about what I write here, especially considering it is a public forum and everything. However, I do think it’s important to chronicle my first year as a new teacher, and I like my friends and family to read about my life so they know what’s going on, so I will try to blog often about what I can.

So, anyway . . . the first week was pretty much a success. I have only had issues with one student so far, and I found out that it is probably not just me, so that was a relief. I have also discovered that seventh graders are chatty, chatty, CHATTY. While I do not mind students talking, by Friday I found myself a little annoyed at the amount of talking they did while getting out their materials, turning to the right page, while I was putting something on the board, etc. In fact, I told most of my 4 classes that I was rather annoyed with the talking, and I think they got the idea rather quickly. Right now I have my students sitting in groups of four because that’s how they were during student teaching and I really liked that. However, I am not quite sure seventh graders are mature enough for that much face-to-face interaction, so I may have to rethink my seating arranagements for now. While I do not necessarily want to go to rows (it’s kind of against my teaching philosophy, which relies heavily on cooperative learning), I also realize that middle school is a different ball game, and that many of my students are still learning “school” in a sense: that is, a lot of them don’t have the skills for positive, beneficial group learning yet. YET. I think by the end of the year I can definitely get them there, but I think I may have to rethink some of my expectations now that I have spent a week with my students. Not lower my expectations, mind you, but rather, adjust them for the time being and the reality of the situation. I would never lower my expectations, of course – I am too high-reaching for that. 😉

So I have been slowly getting acquainted with the school, the faculty, the other teachers on my team . . . and quickly getting acquainted with my students. I have to say that, even already, I have become fond of many of my students. There are some really funny kids are our team, and some really kind spirits, and I think this year is definitely going to be interesting. However, it has been hard getting adjusted to a new school, a new district, new teachers, new students, and, yes, a new curriculum. That is a lot of new for my life, although, let’s face it, “new” has been the key word for my life this entire summer. I am still learning the ropes of the school, while at the same time teaching and lesson planning and figuring out my curriculum. It has been a lot of learning on my part, and just a reminder that even as a teacher, I am still a student. However, despite the early mornings (waking up at 5:45 is going to get old real fast) and the 30 minute drive, I am still loving teaching. I am just trying to make sure not to become jaded by the commute, the difficult students, the loads of grading, or the other teachers (negative attitudes are abundant, unfortunately) and keeping that gusto that I felt during college and student teaching. The good news is, I have a great support system, a supportive husband, and some awesome students, so it should all be good. 🙂

However, we’ll see how I am feeling after the SECOND week . . . just kidding.

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