So let’s hope I’m better at teaching than I am at blogging about teaching.
There’s so much I wish I could have blogged about over the past few years, but I live in fear of saying the wrong thing, and it’s been better to just stay quiet than to risk the consequences of being honest. Let’s just say, though, that if they made a reality show of my classroom, it would get more viewers than the current top 5 rated reality shows… combined.
This was a very rough year for me, but I made it. Well, in 8 more school days… I will have made it. And guess what? I’m staying a third year. Probably not at the same school, which means I will be at my third school in three years, but still… I’m still in the game. Just when they thought I was out… THEY PULL ME BACK IN!
More details to come, but just wanted to check in. Bittersweet ending to one of the roughest years of my life. I think I had the opposite corps experience than most people. I think most people struggle both years, but the second year is easier. My first year was bliss, and my second year was the opposite of bliss. It was quite unexpected to struggle so much in my second year, but I can promise you that I was a much better teacher this year, that I did make significant gains with my students (I should say–THEY made significant gains), and that I learned more in the hard year than in the “easy” year.
My first day of second semester this year was probably one of my worst days. At the end of the day, calmness came over me. I realized it just wasn’t worth it and decided to be the first TFA teacher in history to quit in their last semester of their corps experience. It was that bad. I packed up my classroom and hauled all my crap down to my car. Nobody even noticed. I came in the next day, telling myself I had to at least finish out the week. My classroom was pretty much empty. Nobody noticed. That day, I went upstairs to the library and happened to start chatting with the librarian. I can tell you that THAT CONVERSATION is what kept me teaching this semester. Rarely in life can you point to one moment that really makes a difference, but I can tell you, that was one of those moments. Sure, I had other support. Sure, I would have quit long before January had I not had the most amazing PD to walk the face of the earth, or an amazing family. But I wouldn’t have made it past January 5 had it not been for that conversation.
We were shooting the shit about the kids and how awful things were. She said yeah, their home lives are so bad that school is their safe place. Their behavior is because they feel safe and happy here, they can be themselves ( I kept thinking– how could anyone be happy here? This place is the seventh circle of Hell). Even if they don’t show it, they love you, and they need your love. Bla bla bla. It was all very bleeding heart. It was just crazy, because this librarian did not even know me. She had no clue how hardcore I was struggling. But the way she framed things… I cannot even do justice to how she summed up the state at our school, but wow. It REALLY changed the way I felt about each one of my students, and gave me the courage to make it through each white knuckle day. Before, I had felt very “me against them”, or that I was just fighting against them every day. She made me realize that even though they were fighting against me, I was on their side. I tell my students that all the time, but I realized I wasn’t remembering it myself. I kept repeating to myself all semester what she had told me, and found out many times that she was right. I am blessed to have seen, at least to an extent, the difference I have made this year, even if it isn’t the difference I wanted to make.
I couldn’t do everything, but at least I did something.