Thursday, August 28, 2014

Day 238: First Year

Being a first year teacher is terrible.  Luckily, I'm not really a first-year teacher. In some ways I definitely feel like I am.  For example, I have to email my mentor at least once a day with operational questions like, "How do I recycle the massive amounts of cardboard in my room?" or "What is PAK?"  I also have to introduce myself to everyone and don't actually know anyone's names with enough confidence to actually call them by name yet. 

But the really tough stuff - the stuff that makes teachers drop like flies after one or two years - that stuff I don't have to suffer though.

When I was a first year teacher I took myself way too seriously.  I demanded respect and took it personally when I didn't get it.  I didn't realize that when a student is mad at you about some ridiculous thing, it is best to just kill it with kindness, rather than try to make it up to them or get mad back.  I didn't know how to laugh at myself.  I especially didn't know how to laugh at myself in front of students. I didn't realize that asking them genuine questions about themselves was more important than having them sit through an entire art project.  I wanted to be cool and aloof.  Now I just want to be silly and kind.

Today I am thankful that I'm not really a first year teacher.