Let’s do this thang.

Y’all. We’re on the downhill slope–the negative slope, if you will. (Slope dude anyone? Niiiiiiiiiice negative.) We have made it to the fourth nine weeks and I can hardly believe it. But then again, I look at the bags under my eyes and feel the exhaustion in my bones and I definitely believe it. Whew. I’ve almost survived my first year in the classroom.

I’ll be honest and say that this year has been an emotional roller coaster–somewhat resembling the graph of a polynomial function. (Apologies for the bad math jokes. Can’t stop. Won’t stop.) And now that we’re almost to the end, I’m determined to finish this year well.

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up down, up down, up down… you get the picture.

Even if you’ve been teaching a long time, chances are you’re feeling pretty worn out too. The end of the year seems to be tough on everyone. Testing (Oh Lord,  the testing.) Sickness. Students going cray cray. And just plain ‘ole weariness. It’s tempting to just put on the cruise control and ride it out. Heck, I’ve already been doing this myself! BUT–the more I think about it, the more I don’t want that to be my end of year plan. I can do better, and my students NEED better.

So here’s the new end of year plan…

I’m going to plan the best I can. Smile the best I can. Love the best I can. Challenge the best I can. And put on my dang positive pants the best I can. 

You with me, teacher friend?

LET’S DO THIS THANG. 

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I spent entirely way too long searching for this GIF.
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Dear new teacher, Hang in there.

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[a letter to myself]

New teacher, let me tell you something. This job is hard. It really is. So when you feel the weight of it all, which you most certainly will, don’t feel alone. Don’t feel ill-equipped. Don’t feel weak. Don’t start reevaluating all of your plans. Here me say that teaching is tough. There’s so much to learn. It is completely, perfectly normal to feel all that you feel.

You know what else? It DOES get better. You’ll be amazed at how much you grow in just one semester. Second semester, you know things. Not allllll the things, but you’ve got some skills. Be proud of them.

And you’ll never believe this. It’s so great.  Like, unexpectedly wonderful. Those students you had first semester? Even the ones you *might* have wanted to strangle and didn’t, thankfully. They’ll come back and see you. They’ll smile. They’ll high five you. They’ll tell you that they miss you. And right then and there, you will melt into a puddle on the classroom carpet. And you will hang onto those moments. Tuck them into your back pocket. Because you never know when you might need to remember why you decided to become a teacher in the first place.

New teacher, you are doing a good thing. You may not be the most amazing teacher in the whole world, or even in your school… but you are doing a good thing. You are making a difference in students’ lives. You are investing in the future. You are caring for young people in some of their most formative years. You. are. so. needed.

So when your head hits the pillow at night, and your body, mind, and soul are so so tired. And when the alarm clock goes off at that ungodly hour and you wonder why you ever agreed to get up this early. And when your students act like they’ve lost all their sense and make you so mad that you think you actually could spit fire.

REMEMBER THIS.

Hang in there. You are doing a good thing.

New teacher burnout.

New teacher burnout. I’m calling it a thing.

People have said, “You haven’t been doing this long enough to be tired”.

BUT I AM. I’m so tired.

 

All the newness has worn off. My energy has dwindled. And now, we’re here, deep in the trenches of the mid-semester doldrums and I am just. so. tired.

 

Teaching hormonal high schoolers is no joke, y’all.  (Well, there is plenty of laughing involved. Lots, actually. Kids are funny! It’s just not easy. It’s not easy at all.) 

So yeah. I’m tired. I’m not feeling quite as excited and energized as I did at the beginning.

 

But still–I’m happy to be a teacher.

 

Sure. I don’t always feel happy. But still I know I’m in the right place.

I’m happy to be a teacher because it’s wonderful to be a part of something. It’s a privilege to be a part of my students’ lives. And because I want to make a difference.

 

So even though I’m tired, I’m rallying (and drinking more coffee than I care to admit). God has placed me here. For such a time as this. I don’t want to waste it.

I may not be the best teacher my students have ever had. In fact, right now I’m SURE I’m not. I lose energy midweek. I get frustrated when they ask the same question for the millionth time. I get SO tired of asking them to be quiet. And my lessons definitely need some work. (hello, last minute Kuta worksheets). But I’m dang sure going to keep trying. I want to be a good teacher. Really bad. And I care about my students. I really do.

So for now, I’m calling that a win.

 To all the new (and veteran!) teachers out there who have no idea what they’re doing but keep trying anyway, solidarity. 

sometimes I wonder.

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Sometimes I wonder why I chose a job that is literally never EVER finished. I mean, sure. We get summers off and I technically could leave at 3:30 every day, but in reality? A teacher’s job is never done. Always thinking. Always planning. Always grading. Always trying.

Why didn’t I choose one of those jobs that I could really leave at work? Something that wouldn’t take over my life?

Sometimes I wonder why I chose a job that requires me to get up soooooo early. 5 a.m. wakeup calls are the absolute worst. Every stinking morning. I’ve never been a morning person and it’s not looking like that’s changing any time soon.

Why can’t schools start at 9? 9:00 is a much more civilized hour.  

Sometimes I wonder what it will be like when we have children. Can I do this job well and still be a good mom? How on earth will I manage it all?

How can I possibly find the energy to do both? 

Sometimes I wonder what my students will remember about me. That crazy math teacher who danced around and told stupid jokes.

Will they remember my smile? The way I laughed at the hilarious things they said? The way I believed in them? Those bad days when I yelled at them because they just.wouldn’t.shut.up? 

Teaching is tough, y’all.  But it’s wonderful all at the same time. I chose this job because I wanted to make a difference–and making a difference is almost never easy. But it is almost always worth it.

Help me, Lord.

One month.

Y’all. I have officially taught for 4 weeks.

So basically, I’ve got it all figured out.

KIDDING.

Really, it’s just the opposite.

You know all those people who said that the first year of teaching was really hard?

Well, they weren’t exaggerating. At. All.

It’s pretty humbling to be so crazy excited & full of ideas, only to realize that you still have SO MUCH to learn. I want to be a great teacher, but most days I feel like I’m just barely keeping my head above water. I want to make a difference in students’ lives, but I wonder if I’m getting through to them at all.

It’s hard being new. Trying to make some teacher friends. Trying to prove myself. Trying not to look like an idiot. Trying to not let the students get to me.

Teaching is not for wimps. And there are days when I wonder if I can actually do it.

There have been tears. Lessons that didn’t go as planned. Students sent to the office. Test grades that were awful. [That time I totally messed up a diagram during notes].

But there also have been good times. When a student told me I was their favorite. When a teacher told me that students were talking about me… in a good way. 🙂 When my first evaluation went well. When we all laughed and had fun during Rainbow Logic & Kahoot!.

So, basically? TEACHING IS SO FREAKING HARD. And I’m already exhausted just thinking about going back tomorrow.

But I’m going to keep trying. Because I know it’s worth it. And I know that nobody starts out being great at anything. And I know that students who need love the most are often the hardest to love. And because I want to know if this teaching thing EVER gets any easier.

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my first week.

While we were eating dinner on Friday night, and my husband asked me an awesome question.

If you had to pick 2 words to describe your first week, what would they be? 

The first word came quick, I didn’t even have to think.

EXHAUSTING.

All the teachers out there know exactly what I mean. By Friday afternoon, I was basically a zombie. The walking dead. I didn’t even know my own name.

YES. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

I didn’t have to think very hard about the second word either.

FULFILLING.

I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. And I feel incredibly grateful that the Lord has given me this opportunity.

To teach. To touch lives. To be an encouraging light. And to do math!

Basically, after my first week of teaching I’m feeling all the feels. Here’s a brief rundown.

  • It was H.A.R.D. Most of the time I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water.
  • At one point, I said the EXACT WRONG THING and completely confused my Precal class. And well, I felt pretty stupid.
  • The previous teacher in my position was what some might call a legend. He was there for over 25 years. He was pretty tough, but most of the students respected and admired him. That’s kind of intimidating and difficult to follow. And I can tell already that a fair number of my students are more than a little skeptical of me. That new teacher. She is verrrrrry different. 
  • The “Math is like…” activity from @MrOrr_geek was a huge hit. The administration and the English teachers loved it! My students did an awesome job with it and really surprised me with their creativity. I’m planning to post about it soon. 🙂
  • I’m super lucky. Fortunate. Blessed. Whatever you want to call it. I could not ask for a better school to begin my teaching career in. The administration is fantastic. The teachers are the real deal. I’m really thankful to be in such a positive place where I’m encouraged to be creative and do my best.
  • My first week of plans could have been an advertisement for Illustrative Math. I love how easy it is to find activities that match the standards!
  • All the praise hands for #MTBoS!!!!! I can’t say this enough.  I couldn’t have survived the first week without y’all.
  • Also, my feet hurt.