Thursday, August 14, 2008


Nearly three months since my last post.

I switched careers. To teaching. I was in social work, for those of you that need a refresher. I have been enjoying the transition...until today. I applied and was accepted into an accelerated teaching program and loved it, and loved the kids I worked with during summer school, but in a few SO SHORT weeks, I will be in charge of my own classroom of 9 students in special education. I will lead them through this school year and help them grow and learn.

I met the principal today. And the principal's assistant. I received mixed messages. Looks of disdain, disbelief, annoyance. I know I look young. I am young. But that does not make me incompetent. Once these people told me what I would be experiencing, like I didn't know, I felt the wind knocked out of me. I felt like I was going in the wrong direction.

How can this be? I have been feeling called to this - I have seen signs directing me to go in this direction. And when someone simply challenges my thoughts or makes me feel inadequate I want to give up? That is my own downfall and I cannot let it continue.

They warned me of it all. They warned me of what these 9 boys will do. I felt small and insignificant, someone who surely can't make a change in this world - in THEIR world. I will be teaching in the inner city. I am not familiar, at least, not as much, with this way of life, but I know a lot about it and I believe I can make a difference, if merely a small one. Having people doubt me just makes it worse. I want someone to encourage me and to say, even if untrue, that I WILL be able to handle it.

I took a tour of the school and saw my own classroom. Instead of a rush of excitement to decorate my own classroom and to make it my own, I felt discouraged. I don't know if I can do it. How can I demand authority? What if they don't listen, which they won't? When a student runs from the classroom, who goes after or the paraprofessional? I can't leave the other 8 by themselves!

More and more questions present themselves and I am feeling continuously let down. During this small break, it didn't seem real but now that I have seen the classroom, I know it is, and I now have a limited amount of time to prepare. Lessons, classroom management, classroom decor, etc. I only have a week and a half and I don't even know where to begin. I don't know these kids! I don't know their needs, their weaknesses. What do I do the first week of school?

I just feel so surprised and so shaken up, but by what? I knew what I was getting into. It is not a shock. Maybe now that I see how much responsibility I have. Now that I see that I have so much to do in this short time, I am feeling stressed and anxious and rushed and don't know how it will be that first day. Who these kids are.

Anyways. That's been my life.


Amy said...

You are just getting the cold-feet "Oh my gosh what have I gotten myself into?" feeling that comes with any big change.
Can you meet with any experienced teachers and see their classrooms and get some ideas?
Take it a step at a time and act firm and confident. They don't need to know you are nervous - that's your business.
You're going to do fine. The nerves will pass. Really.
Keep us posted.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I'm so glad you posted an update. I've missed you. Good luck with the new job!

I think everyone is nervous this time of year -- kids, teachers, parents. I know I am, and so are my kids. You could always pretend your class was full of my son and all the mamas were me grateful to have you teaching my boy. :)

Recovery Discovery said...

You and I seem to be doing this parallel/ not so parallel journey. I'm guessing the population you're working with is emotionally disturbed, right? (The 9 boy classroom is a dead giveaway.) That's the population I worked with exclusively for 20 years up till last year. You'll be fine. To me, the most important thing is consistency. I've found that it really doesn't matter what behavior management plan you use, as long as you use it consistently. I'm gonna send you my email addy. If you want input, I'm happy to be a sounding board.