Wednesday, June 05, 2013

End of the School Year Reflections

This school year was one of my most difficult years aside from my first year teaching. This year I had to learn how to be a mom, a teacher and a wife at the same time. I had to learn how to balance those three worlds, and I had to do it all with a new class assignment, 9th grade. When I first got the assignment to teach 9th grade English, I was, if I'm going to be honest, quite frustrated. My world had already erupted with the birth of Hudson, and to take on a new assignment on top of my 10th grade class made me very uneasy. I had so many new responsibilities already. I was very nervous I'd fail to find balance in my life. I was nervous I wouldn't do a good job on either end, at home or at school.

Planning time was hard to come by this year because half of the week days I had to rush home to alleviate the babysitter; then half way through the school year, Nathan started dropping Hudson off after school, but I couldn't get much done on those days because Hudson quickly grew fussy. Thankfully, I work with colleagues who cultivate a sharing community and many people were willing to help me along the way. I could go to them with questions and I'd get answers. Eventually, I found my groove and got by day by day.

As the year began, I was pleased to find that I enjoyed the 9th grade students I had in my class. Yes, they required a lot more patience because of their silly actions, questions and comments, but overall I felt very comfortable around the age group. This year I realized that my personality thrives with the younger crowd. I've taught upper level in the past, 11th and 12th grade, and I felt much more closed off from that age group. I think because I started teaching at only 24, and I was only 6-7 years older than most of my students I had my own insecurities and overcompensated with a detached and cold attitude leaving it difficult to connect with many of my students. I feel like this year, more than any other, I was able to connect better with my students. I was thinking about this once and realized I'm just a happier person overall. Hudson has brought so much happiness into my life that it overflows into my teaching profession.

There are still things need to improve upon for next year, and that's the nice thing about teaching, you get a fresh start every year. I learned I can accept new challenges, and yes there will be many more challenges to come because next year I got the assignment to teach 11th grade English, so I will no longer teach 9th and 10th; I will teach 10th and 11th. After I got this news, I had a few days of mixed emotions. I had grown to enjoy 9th grade and felt comfortable there, and I haven't taught 11th since my first year, but if I learned one thing this year it is I can overcome challenges.

Ironically, of all the years, this year I found the most balance. I balanced two classes, a baby, a husband and I even started working out again. I guess that's the thing about balance, you won't find it until you need it.

 

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