Anyway, as all teachers do, I have been excited, stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, thrilled, and just plain scared at regular intervals throughout this last week of preparation. Basically my emotions have run the gamut come full circle, usually settling on scared. =) Because, let's be honest... what teacher isn't just a little bit afraid of stepping into a room full of every imaginable personality, full of potential, and full of potential problems. (Really? Problems? Yes, imagine it!) But with that potential comes the limitless possibilities of new and exciting opportunities for all kinds of moments. There are the everyday, pleasant moments of a game that didn't get out of hand, or a quiz everyone passed, or an overheard sweet conversation that wasn't prompted by the presence of a teacher. Or those bigger, rarer moments, like a student who opens up and actually asks for advice, or the class has a breakthrough and finally gets a concept you've been pounding for weeks (looking at you, adverbs.) And of course there are plenty of
So, another school year begins... enjoying the everyday moments, always looking for a big one, preventing the bad ones. And, as I've been reminded multiple times this week, remembering that beyond the grammar and the literature and the spelling and vocabulary and the composition, I am given the opportunity to influence. I don't teach curriculum; I teach students. A few dozen bright, unique, frustrating, wonderful students who make me want to weep and then laugh, sometimes within the same conversation. But I do love them. I saw one of our more challenging ones this week and told a principal that it's amazing that even when a kid drives you crazy, you get this warm, fuzzy feeling at the sight of them (yes, I know... I'm nauseating.) But it's true! You spend hours with these kids, sometimes more than their parents, and for better or worse they become your own. Heaving sigh... Now that I've worked myself into a sentimental mess...
This is the first slide of my first day presentation. If this doesn't scare them I don't know what will. =)
I've talked recently about how people think I'm younger than I am, and you can imagine how that could translate negatively in the classroom. (My endless wealth of Disney knowledge probably doesn't help the illusion that I'm not actually a grown-up.) And it's easy to feel insecure and self-conscious when you work with teenagers... who aren't exactly known for their subtlety in scrutiny. (I found out about halfway through last year that a few girls were betting on how long it would take me to repeat an outfit. I think they're still waiting... ha! Not really.) And of course there's the pressure... pressure to want to be liked, to want to influence, to realize the enormity of my job that is preparing these kids for literally the rest of their lives. (Yikes! And you wonder why I'm frazzled.) But I know that a) I am certainly not alone in this endeavor and b) it's worth the frazzle, the stress, the long hours, the sleepless nights (and there have been plenty) and the days when all you want to do is pour a big Mountain Dew and shut out the world (subjects and verbs included.) Because teaching is hard. Rewarding? Yes. Fulfilling? Sure. Hard? Absolutely.
So, back to school. Back to early mornings, late nights, lesson plans, bulletin boards, packing lunches, grading, email, conferences, chapel.... over and over and over and waking up one day and seeing you've made a difference somewhere. And when the difficulties come (inevitably), the frustrations, the days when they just don't get it (and neither do I!), I must remind myself that I'm called to this. That I didn't just choose this as a career... God placed it on my heart as a little girl and I'm privileged to be living out a dream of mine. And, beneath the crusty exterior of my cold heart =) I truly, deep-down love these kids. And grammar. Because I'm a weirdo.
So, if you see a harried-looking teacher this week, give them a thumbs-up and maybe a thank-you. Maybe a look of solidarity, or a sympathetic smile. Or a cupcake. I think we all love cupcakes. =) Happy back to school! Let's do this, NBCA!