Thursday, January 13, 2011

One Down, Another to Go

Today was the last day of my first "year" of teaching - since the school I'm at is advanced block scheduling, each semester is like a year. So today I said good-bye to my first group of students and on Tuesday I meet a whole new group of kids. It's been a fascinating 18 weeks and I feel like almost everything that could possibly happen to a first year teacher happened to me. Within the first 6 weeks of school, I had to contact CPS, had a student punch another in front of me, and was called a F-ing idiot by a student. If there was ever a time when I could have been tempted to quit, it was then. I was working late at least three days a week and was constantly stressed. I kept telling myself it would get better one day. One day I would be able to go home before 5:00 and not have anything to grade. One day I would know what lesson I was doing before 9:45 the morning I was supposed to teach it. It took a while, but finally those things did happen.

In the beginning, my lessons were extremely bland. I hated my lessons, I felt like I wasn't doing a good job, and, worst of all, there were times that I felt like the students were not learning. It was about halfway through the semester that I found my passion for teaching again - it's when I began to put that passion into my teaching. I began to have fun with my lessons, made them interesting. The students got to put some of the absolute monarchs on trial, listen to a story about the beginning of World War I as if it was a cafeteria fight, and fight a trench war. When school let out for winter break, teaching had become easier and so had classroom management.

Now it's time for a new "year" and I'm excited to see what's going to happen this time. I have all these new ideas for activities and lessons that hopefully will make the students interested in the material. I've actually texted myself a couple of times with ideas because I know I'll forget them by the time I get to a piece of paper and a pen. I know it's still going to be a bit rough, but it will continue to get better. By the end of the school year, I will have taught the world history course twice and will have come up with more ideas to improve my lessons.

On a different note, I completed all of my Christmas projects (one was a little late, but I was able to make it a birthday gift) and almost finished all of the books I wanted to read. My only problem with the books was I kept buying new ones to read. Now I have a new time line for crochet gifts - two of my closest friends have gotten engaged and both will be married in the next few months. I'm making each couple a blanket for their wedding. The first wedding is in just a couple of months, so I've already started their blanket. Here's to hoping I finish it on time while surviving the new school year.