School is winding down. I have almost made it through my first year.
If you had asked me back in September (or October… or November) if I thought I would have ever made it this far, I would have answered with an emphatic, “Oh, hell no.” I was a sad case. Recently, my mom recalled a Sunday afternoon last fall in which she drove 40 minutes to my house to do my laundry because I was so miserable just thinking about the week that awaited me that I was practically paralyzed.
Then, for whatever reason, something clicked after Christmas. I figured a lot of things out. I changed what wasn’t working, and found ways to improve what was. I forced myself to have a life outside of school, however small it might be. I became a teacher who is firm, but kind. I finally managed to use my classroom’s bedamned projector system.
Yesterday, I was one of three teachers who showed up to school in the 7th grade hallway. Substitutes had been called, but few showed up and my assistant principal was visibly frazzled. I ended up redistributing the kids from the unsupervised classes into classrooms where a substitute or teacher was present. I then taught five, hour-long classes with 36-40 students in my room. I missed lunch because I met with a parent who is worried about the safety of her child. I read 20 pages out loud to each of my last two classes of a book they love. After school, I went to my students’ talent show where I screamed myself hoarse. Before falling asleep, I typed up two quizzes for the following day and sent some emails about scheduling. And yet, as I was laying in bed waiting the few moments it took for sleep to settle in, I felt empowered. The day was chaotic, but I was the anchor. I felt proud—of my students and myself. It had been a good day.
Maybe I will burn out going so hard like this, but it’s miles better than being miserable.
Or worse, bored.