As a first year (8th grade Language Arts) teacher who’s living my “dream,” here are a couple confessions I have to make:
- This teaching thing is harder than I ever could have imagined. I answer approximately 30 questions per minute, most of which do not pertain to the topic at hand. I must have an answer for said questions immediately. I need to have a variety of creative ways to teach the same concept, because each of my 30+ students per class have unique learning styles, struggles, and strengths. I must accommodate each learner at his/her level, even when I don’t have the time or resources to do so. I must be consistent but also understanding. I must cultivate a sense of learning and excitement, even though students are dealing with incredibly difficult things and issues outside of school. I continually stare at data/assessments and contemplate new & better strategies to use. I must do a thousand extra things that don’t have to do with the actual teaching part that add an incredible amount of stress to my job.
- If there’s one thing that gets my gizzard it’s when I get email after email about the district fruit basket giveaway or some such nonsense during TEACHING hours asking why I haven’t entered yet or responded since the last reminder sent 5 minutes ago. NOBODY CARES, SHEILA. I AM TEACHING!
- I wish my students knew how funny I was in real life. I’m not really a strict, dorky English teacher 24/7. I’m a real person, too.
- If one more student asks me what the homework is on the way out of class, I JUST MIGHT LOSE IT. I have already written it on the board under the “Homework” section, I have already mentioned it 700 billion times during the lesson, and – in case you missed all of those reminders – I JUST SAID IT ONE MORE TIME RIGHT BEFORE THE BELL RANG FOR STUDENTS LIKE YOU.
- I’m so incredibly proud of my students. They are rock-stars. I wish they knew the incredible amount of potential & creativity they each possess!
- I get unbelievably hungry around 10:15 each morning. Carbs don’t count if they are before lunch. Period.
- My work day is not over ￼at 3:45 P.M. And, yes. I do work on the weekends. I have 110+ students to care for. That means tons of grading & lots of planning. Not to mention recovering.
- I never ever feel like “I’ve got it all figured out.” I’m constantly self-evaluating, learning, improvising, asking for advice, and making changes to accommodate all my learners.
- Every “Good Morning, Mrs. Stroup,” smile, high five, or silly joke from my students means the world.
- If I could choose my career all over again, I would STILL choose this one. No questions asked. I enjoy the challenge. I love my students. I pray constantly for wisdom and patience as I shape the minds of the future.
To all my teacher friends out there, don’t lose heart or get bogged down by all the Negative Nellies & bureaucratic requirements — Don’t forget why you fell in love with teaching, but don’t you forget to take care of yourself.
To those of you who aren’t teachers & want to criticize our struggle, instead of sympathize — Keep your comments to yourself. We have enough unhappy parents that fill us in on all that junk.
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash