Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back in the Saddle

The first 14 days of this school year are past.  At the end of tomorrow, I will have had 15 official days with this class.  And can I tell you something? I love this year.  My students aren’t perfect.  I’m not anywhere close to it.  But it’s amazing what a difference a year can make.  I feel confident in my classroom.  I feel confident in my skills as a teacher and as a disciplinarian.  I love being in my classroom.  I’m not racing out of the building in tears at 3.  In fact, I’ve hardly left before 4 this week. 

I feel like I’m a better teacher this year.  My lessons are fresher, more creative.  I’m planning ahead, and figuring out assignments that will help my students in all aspects of their future.  I would have loved some of the assignments I have plotted out for the next two weeks.  My discipline skills are stronger.  My classes aren’t out of control, and they are learning.  Fewer students are failing at this point.  Everything just feels BETTER.

I overheard a few boys in my classroom yesterday.  One of them was saying that he thought ninth grade English was so much simpler than eighth grade.  I questioned him on this, because I know I’ve been working them HARD.  He explained that while they had a lot of work, he felt like I took enough time to go through and make sure they understood the assignment thoroughly before having them do it, so it wasn’t hard to do the work.  I told Andy last night that those comments from that student were some of the most meaningful words anyone has spoken to me in my career.

I feel like I am handling things better.  I had a student who speaks no English dropped into my classroom on the fourth day of school, with no warning or guidance.  I’ve figured out how to teach and help him, and still focus on the rest of the class.  I have taught myself how to teach English as a New Language to student who really doesn’t know his first language.  I’m figuring out how to motivate my unmotivated learners.  And I’m making my kids so much more responsible for their learning.

I’ve been developing a better relationship with one of my colleagues down the hall.  She is teaching one of the same classes as me this year, so we’ve been bouncing ideas off of one another and working together.  It’s been so nice to have someone who is doing the same thing I am.  We joked yesterday that we have so little time that when the two of us have a chance to talk we try to fit 60 minutes of conversation into 9 minutes….we both talk faster than Lorelai and Rory and cover 12 different topics in mere seconds.  And I love it.   

I’m still tired.  I think it’s just a given for the early part of the year.  But I’m making time for exercise, and I’m trying to watch my calories so I don’t gain more weight early in the year like I did last year.  I’ve been thinking about having a sweets-free September.  During my senior year of high school I decided to pretend like I was Catholic and give up all junk food for Lent.  It was hard at first, but I remember feeling lighter, healthier and more energetic at the end of that time.  So I’m kind of hoping for that.

I feel blessed right now.  Last year was hard.  It was a serious growing time.  But the Lord has so clearly been showing me how much I have learned, how much I have improved in the last twelve months.  It’s been kind of a high these past few days just thinking about it.  The start of this school year has been such a sweet gift from God.  I so appreciate it, and I just can’t get enough of it :)


Anonymous said...

I am so glad to hear the lift in your words. Stay strong even in the tough moments. I will be sending you good thoughts throughout the year ahead.

Love Aunt Cris

Anonymous said...

Experience is always a good teacher. Save that letter to look back on when you need uplifting. Love Grandma