Another drought between posts, and the best word I can use to describe how I feel in this 3rd quarter is weary.
The last month has included report cards, snow days, meetings, and one very wild Valentine's party. It amazes me how, even with the extra days off we have had due to snow and holidays (Martin Luther King, Jr., Presidents' Day, etc), I never feel quite rested or caught up. I feel that way right now, after I've had a perfectly enjoyable weekend, lesson plans done early, heading to bed a little early... but I'm still not mentally prepared for the week ahead. I really thought that I would have this down a little better by now, but I still feel the same nerves every morning on my long commute, in the dark, to work. I still worry about the prospect of the unknown things that could happen in my classroom everyday. It is quite tiresome, and again, I just feel weary.
My mother and I have had conversations about how sometimes looking forward to things makes one "wish their life away." Well, with working 2 jobs this year, getting married in July, and moving, and finishing up this difficult first year... I will fully admit that I am wishing the time away. I have learned so much this year and I am ready for a break and a fresh start.
There I go again, though, wishing away the time, when I have a large obstacle looming... the test. As of this week, we finish our last official unit of "new material," and will begin test prep. We had a meeting with the principal last week about the importance of our preparation for the test.
Sidenote, for just a moment. For those who don't know, my fiance accepted a job in Maryland this month, that will begin in August. So, after I complete this year of teaching, I will be moving on to another school and starting again. I just began that process again today (didn't I just finish applying and finding out whether I would get to keep my job?). I informed my principal of this about 2 weeks ago.
Okay, back to the story. The other 4th grade teacher and I (it is his 2nd year of teaching) met with our principal a few weeks ago. She reminded us that, though it is my 1st year and I am leaving and that it is his 2nd year, that all it takes is 1 grade level not passing the test to put our school on the list. Added pressure, to say the least! My leaving has nothing to do with my responsibility to teach my kids this year, and I hope that isn't what is coming across this year! It does create so much pressure, though, to think that the results of my teaching are going to affect the funding (that our school desperately, desperately needs) for next year. That responsibility weighs heavily, whether I will be here next year or not (which I'm not).
So, as we wrap up this last unit this week, I am not looking forward to the weeks of "test prep" that I know are expected of me and my students. I understand the importance of the test and the repurcussions of poor performance, but I'm not sure how I'm going to pull off passing all of my students. I am passing along that responsibility to the Lord as I do my absolute best to not only prepare my students for the test, but more importantly, for success in life. How to find that balance is a task of which I am completely unsure. I will just take it one day at a time.
Hmm, what else is there to update on? Management issues vary from one day to the next, as I've learned how to better deal with some things and still struggle with others. I am really ready for a fresh start in that area. Lesson-planning has gotten easier but, like I said earlier, even during those weeks when I feel I have planned really well, things still never go quite as planned. The anticipation of the difficult (and some successful) times in the classroom are what stresses me out on my early morning drives to work. I feel like I'm repeating myself but this has just been a shock to continue to feel so nervous about going to my job everyday.
Which brings me to one last point...
I'm not sure if I have written about this or just talked about it with those close to me, but there is one other reason that I am ready for a fresh start. I am ready to feel like I'm doing a good job again. This is not a pity "feel sorry for me" but a simple statement of truth of which I continue to struggle. Until this point in my life, I was successful at what I did. Not necessarily the best, but always successful, always meeting expectations. This year, I feel like I've done nothing but fall short. Not that there has been anyone extremely critical, just the simple day to day responsibilities of a teacher that I feel like I just don't do well at: procedures, organization, always engaging the students, helping them succeed, good classroom management, fostering a love of learning, seeing good test results, mentoring... and the list really does go on and on. I am ready to feel like I'm not failing at those things (or at least part of those things!). I hope that I can eventually look back and see some success or satisfaction in my work this year, and in the years to come, because I don't often feel it these days.
Again, no pity party, just putting the honest truth out there (And curious if other first-years feel this way, too).
From the desk of the weary,