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Teacher Suicides (why am I not surprised)

Someone has to fight these conditions.  I’ve been told by many teachers that they came home every night and cried their first year as a teacher.  This is horrible. 

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Every day I find myself a little bit less inspired in the classroom…

then I do some last minute lesson planning in my head…

clean my room

create some worksheets….

and reinspire myself.  Re-INSPIRED! 

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So I’m back to this blog again after a year of teaching as a head teacher…there have been so many ups and downs this year (mostly downs) and I find myself at a new point in my journey: I am highly considering leaving the classroom for good.  

Here’s why: 

  • this year I had to deal with an emotionally abusive coworker who verbally abused me in front of children
  • this year I had to deal with an administration that didn’t understand how to support teacher teams effectively (though I did have a very positive supervisor)
  • this year I had, by everyone’s standards, the most difficult class in the school where over 1/3 of my class had diagnosed special needs
  • this year I had some wake up calls with parents who questioned my ability to teach and spread rumors about me behind my back, mean girl’s style. 

And, for some reason, (sarcasm implied greatly)  I wasn’t able to handle the stress of that and it started affecting my work and my ability to even see myself teaching in the future. I had too much work, too little time to do it in, too little help and I was hurt.  But at least there was the possibility that things were going to get better.  And if they didn’t they would in the future.

  • and then they decided not to ask me back for next year

As a first year teacher who struggled to the best of her ability this was possibly the lowest blow I could have received.  I was crushed.  Of course I had made mistakes, and certainly I am not proud of everything that happened this year, but surely when you have stacked the odds so far against someone’s favor, you have to give them a second chance.  I was heartbroken (as I was at the beginning of this blog). 

Then I went to a panel event about “What to Do with Your Masters in Education,” and it made me rethink my decision to eject myself from the classroom. 

Bank Street College is an amazing support system of teachers and other professionals.  The panel they had assembled was a group of speakers from all walks of life who were there to describe their own teaching paths.

The message was resilience.  And it resonated.  The first speaker mentioned that in her first year in teaching she went home and cried every single day.  Then the second year she just cried on the weekends.  But somehow she persevered.  Now she runs an amazing school in upstate New York and uses her experiences to fuel her drive as a director. 

The next speaker talked about how we have to teach our students resilience in the face of all that comes to them in the world, the power to take a mistake and learn and grow, but not to be beaten by it.  She, as it turned out, is a producer at Sesame Street, and although her classroom teaching career was brief, she used her Bank Street Education to make a huge difference in the world.

After the panel, I talked to the head of the Alumni Committee who was in charge of the event and I told him he should have a panel that was about what to do when you don’t want to be in the classroom anymore and have a special education degree (I probably didn’t say it that bluntly, but he figured it out anyhow) and he said to me, “Don’t give up.”  I explained my situation. 

"Don’t give up."  He reminded me that it was only my first year.  All first year teachers have it tough.  All first year teachers in ANY situation have it tough.  I owe it to myself to give myself another chance in a place that is the right fit. 

It certainly gives me a lot to think about.  I left even more confused about my situation.  But also feeling like I have a way to get through this year: 

  • I can be resilient and this is not the end of my career.  I can succeed somewhere and I have the power within me to do so. 
  • maybe all I need is a second chance
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So do you have to ask for that promotion interview?  (random anxious question my brain keeps askin’)

Sigh.  I’m hoping for a “promotion” of sorts.  I went to my boss  said that I’m interested in one of the maternity leave positions.  She seemed happy and told me that I’m on the “top of the list.”  She also told me that there’s really only one position open since she’s already pretty sure who will be filling in for the head teacher spot that’s opening up.  Which leaves the assistant position in the room I work in the most.

Yesterday I met a woman who was interviewing for one of the two positions.  My first thought (*my “fist” thought would have been my “freudian typo” thought*) was that “she’s interviewing for my job.  She seemed like a nice lady and we sat down and talked for a minute.  But now every day seems like a job interview. The good thing is, they know me and they’re positive about my work.  I just have to treat each day as the chance to show them who I am to the best of my ability. 

Oh yeah and don’t sweat the small stuff!