Surviving the First Half of My First Year Teaching!
First, I feel that I should update you on my life! My first blog post (originally made way back in April 2018) was all about how I decided to start My Astro Bright Life adventure. It originated with the idea of making those who were also in what I loved to call “limbo” (certified teachers that were floating around schools, trying to get their foot in the door and finally get their own classroom) feel like they were not alone. You can read more about what I was doing and how it all started if you scroll down to my first entry! Fast forward to June 2018, I finally got THE phone call for the position that I was wishing for… I was officially hired as a second grade reading, writing and social studies teacher!
Now that we’re all caught up- I honestly cannot believe that I have made it this far! From staying long, disgustingly hot summer days setting up the classroom of my dreams to staying up late assuring I knew what I was teaching the next day, I can sit back and confidently say I’m surviving! Hahah! Attempting to thrive even though I have had so many crater size pot holes to climb over. Like anything, there are been so many highs with just as many lows.
I remember the feeling of my pounding heart, shaking hands and eager mind the first day of school. I was so thankful that I had a handful of familiar faces in my classroom because of the position I held the previous school year. The first weeks of school, I really focused on building community and a culture in my classroom. This is something that I know for a fact that I will do next year. I think it was so important to build a trust and foundation with your students before you assess and start hard-core with curriculum. I know that I have built a concrete relationship with my students because they are genuinely upset whenever they do not have school and I have been told so many times (verbally and through letters) that I’m their best friend. And that makes my heart melt.
But don’t get me wrong, it has 100% not been rainbows and butterflies. Let’s talk about the first breakdown. Words cannot express how disappointed in myself I was that I even had a moment like this but I’ve come to realize something that I’m sure you didn’t know about yourself either. WE’RE HUMAN! I had a new student and moments after meeting them I realized something was off. Even after talking to colleagues and other staff members about the observed behaviors, no one took my concerns seriously and all I really got was a “good luck”. And that broke me. I remember walking into my friend’s classroom, trying to explain my concerns and couldn’t get through the first sentence without completely breaking down. I didn’t think I was capable of handling the behavior and felt so small because it felt like no one believed that my concern was worth looking into. After, literally, crying on her shoulder and talking things over, I realized that I am more than capable and most importantly, I realized that I was already willing to help them. That is what makes me stand out.
My students cover all the colors of the rainbow. I have students that are brand new to the country, some that are reading at a kindergarten level, some that are reading at the end of second grade, and many that need tons of social-emotional support. Between the daily drama of he-said, she-said and the stress of everything that comes with teaching, I’ve learned to hold my breath for a very long time. And that’s ok. Even though the “ah-ha” moments are far and few between, it makes the journey getting there all the more worth it.
The first two quarters have taught me so much. Not just about my students, my career, my abilities as a teacher, but about myself as a person. I have battled so much that has made my skin thicker and my heart bigger. Starting My Astro Bright Life has allowed me to share my ideas, experiences and opened my eyes to other ways I can grow; for that, I am truly grateful. Thank you for supporting me through the first half of my first year of teaching. I’m excited to see what the second half brings!