My Hemmingway-esque first day speech was all set and I thought I was ready for the vainglorious teenagers to push through my classroom door. And then I felt the first of several many meltdowns come about.
How in the world do you get through the first week of school without having at least one ten meltdowns? I know NEXT year will be better because I won’t have to figure out the school, start my classroom from scratch (management, layout and design), figure out a brand new curriculum, AND get to know my students.
Unfortunately, my college semester last fall didn’t start until several weeks AFTER the school for my student teaching placement started. We were encouraged to go to the school to help our cooperating teacher set up and begin the school year, but I was taking two summer courses and working and, quite frankly, couldn’t be bothered. I wish I realized then that this was SO important! At least I would’ve had some sort of idea as to what to expect when setting up my own classroom for the first time.
I mean, in all my training and in all my textbooks they talked about how crucial the first day and first week of school are in setting up the tone and expectations in your classroom- I get that. I did need to tweak several things by the end of the first week: posting explicit instructions for some of my procedures and rearranging desks (unfortunately, groups of four did NOT work, so I’ll try pairs next week).
I must say I also wasn’t prepared for the gazillion emails containing uber-important information from administration, with very little information as to what actually needed to be done. The emails were definitely written for the veteran teachers, not the ones who were new to the school. I wish I had more school-specific training, so that I wasn’t freaking out that every little thing that needed to get done had to get done IMMEDIATELY. Don’t get me wrong, the administration at my school seems great; the Principal and Assistant Principal are very avuncular, and the other Assistant Principal seems very nice (I haven’t had too much interaction with her yet). I know they are incredibly busy trying to get the school year off to a great start, just as the rest of us are.
I also wish someone would have told me that I would feel like I was a crazy person for awhile. I think my husband thinks I’m insane, although he is very supportive just as he had been while I was in school full-time. I also feel my students think I’m peculiar; I can’t tell you how many times they looked at me as if I just asked them to take the square root of okra.
Nevertheless, I HAVE to push through. I keep telling myself that things will start being routine and I’ll be able to handle all of the insanity sooner or later. Any advice all of you inspiring veteran teachers have for me is more than welcome and I promise my next post will be full of inspiration, as well.