Howdy, you trusty followers! I know you’ve been waiting in anticipation for another post from me. The truth is that I’ve been beyond busy.
I got my first teaching job in June, and I’ve been teaching high school English at Elkhorn Area High School here in Wisconsin since September. I really love it. I’m teaching freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. We read. We write. We speak. It’s been such a learning opportunity for me as well as for the students.
Teaching has been more than I could have anticipated. Every single day is new, and every single student presents me with questions and challenges. I’ve learned more in the four months since I started than I did in my college teaching courses. Now, this is not a knock at UW-Platteville or any of the professors who got me to this point in my career. However, sitting in a classroom and planning a lesson here and there does not prepare people for having their own classroom.
I would love to say that teaching has been all sunshine and rainbows, but I’d be lying. There are days where I question my decision to become a teacher because I think my students are questioning my abilities. When I wake up each morning, I am excited to go to school, and when I go to bed each night, I know I’m supposed to be teaching. It’s the in-between that sometimes has me concerned. Managing a classroom is tough. Creating lessons for 12 weeks for three different classes is tough. Grading papers and tests and evaluating where my students are at in their learning is tough.
However, seeing a smile on my students’ faces after they understand something they didn’t previously understand is amazing. Having my students make connections between their own life and what we’re learning is amazing. Having a student thank me for giving them a 100% on an assignment is amazing. Having students who want to spend lunch in my room because they trust me is amazing.
There are so many amazing moments that have outweighed the tough times. I do believe it will get easier, but probably not for awhile. The things I’ve learned in these four months, though, have shown me that I’m still a student:
- Having support, especially in that first year, is worth more than a big paycheck.
- Talking to a student about their interests will make them see you as a human.
- Communicating with parents, whether with good news or bad, is calming.
- Getting students to think about their learning is more important than getting them to fill in a multiple-choice test.
- Being flexible is really the only option as a teacher.
Teaching is still my passion, but I’ve also realized that I want to continue learning for the rest of my life.