Sunday, November 23, 2014

Confessions of a First Year Teacher: Made It to Thanksgiving Break!

I'm sitting on our couch....eating microwaved mac and cheese leftovers form Applebee's,...and watching the AMAs (American Music Awards).  Not worrying about work tomorrow and what I have planned for the day...or not planned for the day, for that matter.  It feels amazing...and for most teachers, a week of no work is SO needed by now.

This Thanksgiving I find myself being so thankful for certain people/things in life, primarily because they have helped me get through the past 3 months.   I was always told that student teaching and schooling will never prepare you for the job of being the teacher of your own classroom.  Boy, is that true.  Looking back, student teaching was so carefree and easy! I wasn't responsible for all the paperwork...lesson planning...managing the business...yes the "business" of my classroom.  During my student teaching, I always did my best to ask my master teachers about their strategies for work-life balance - because I knew that would be a major struggle for me.  The two pieces advice I heard was "Always take your lunch" and "Set a time for you to go home and put work aside."  The first piece of advice has not happened....up until now, I still have not had lunch in the teacher's lounge once during my students' lunch, mainly because there's no way I can leave the number of kids I have with only 2 instructional aides (while other aides are on their lunch).  The second piece of advice is struggle as well...but the past two week's I've been getting better at it.  There's just ALWAYS work to be done...whether it means create materials that I think will engage my students, prepare for upcoming IEPs, write e-mails, figure out aide schedules....there is no end! Most first-year teachers have their moments of emotional breakdowns because of the stress and feeling of quitting...and I've definitely had my fair share of them.  My poor husband has to bear with my ups and downs caused by work...and I share so much of it with my mom on the way home from work.  I love my mom and our long talks on my drive home from work! To sum it up ....  teaching is so hard!  For me, it's hard not only physically, but emotionally and mentally.  I love my students so much and I want to do so much for them.  There's simply not enough time to do it all during the "contractual hours", and there's' not enough time in the world to do what I or many other teachers want to do for their students.  I think that's why so many teachers become so stressed with their job because of their desire to simply do good and what is best.  Still, it's important that teachers (like myself) take time for themselves too! This week I'm going to do my best to do just that....and find ways to relax AND do some prep for when I go back to work.


Who Am I Thankful For After The Past 3 Months?

My Husband Cody
          Thank you for.....
      • waiting for me to go with you to gas at Costco and make a run to Walmart on the weekdays - you know I'd just keep on working, if I stayed home
      • dealing with my emotional breakdowns, and being prepared for another one to come, even when I say "I'm doing really good today, don't you think?!" You know me so well.
      • Cooking dinner on nights when I'm way too tired and exhausted
      • Not caring about the little diversity we have when it comes to dinner....rotating 2 prepared meals throughout the week is the easiest thing for us at the moment
      • Finding your way to understanding when I come home with a new pair of boots (retail therapy is so helpful sometimes!)
      • Giving me helpful advice and tough love when I need to stop my negative self-talk 
      • Surprising me with peppermint flavored coffee a couple weeks ago!
      • Sending me encouraging texts at work when I've been feeling a bit stressed and unsure about myself
      • Not getting too upset when I buy things for my classroom....I don't spend a lot compared to other teachers too!
      • Bringing my back to reality when I begin feeling like my life is determined by my job
      • Simply loving me and always being there when I just want to squeeze you...because you know how much I love to give hugs when I'm feeling stressed/anxious, and you're the only person I could ever squeeze over and over again!!
My parents and brother
               Thank you for.......
      • Taking my almost-daily phone calls on my way home from work that last at least 30 minutes
      • Being such great distraction for me from work during the weekends...I'm so glad we live fairly close by so we can visit each other!
      • Donating amazing goodies to my classroom
      • Doing what you always do to help me when I'm stressed
      • Visiting my classroom last week!

The staff at my school
               Thank you for......
      • Being SO welcoming 
      • Understanding the difficulties I face as a first year teacher
      • Always lending a helping hand
      • Reassuring me of my efforts I put into the classroom

What have I been thankful for during the past 3 months?
      • The power of prayer 
      • Hearing parents say "He's so excited to come to school in the morning!" and "Thank you for taking care of our babies."  
      • Where I live....moving to Riverside was a choice Cody and I made because we didn't want to spend so much money to live in Orange County.  We found an amazing place at an amazing price, somehow we were able to find jobs out this way too. Thank you God for blessing us with a home and jobs out in in this area before we got married. 
      • my marriage
      • SLEEP!

Well that was a long post....and I'm impressed if someone actually read it in its entirety! Time to stop typing because I tend to type way too much...and Cody thinks that when I type this much, it means I'm working. He just called me out a few minutes ago...but I told him "I'm blogging, not working!!"  Success! :) 

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