Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wackiness: As a measure of teaching ability, entirely underrated

A couple of commenters on my last post agreed (in a complimentary way) that I get a little "wacky" during the summertime, which made me consider the unfortunate truth that I am not nearly wacky enough during the school year. Frankly, I'm losing a little bit of my wackiness as the summer lurches to a close and I spend more of my time planning lessons and scrolling through pages and pages of the school rules and regulations binder ("changes are highlighted in yellow") that my principal e-mailed to us because apparently we're not printing anything anymore, ever. (How this will affect our ability to deliver effective instruction this year and whether my administration will make any allowances for this remains to be seen.)

I'm already having back-to-school nightmares. I think there is a disconnect between how I am during the summer vs. how I am during the school year. Sometimes I think I'm still not comfortable in my teaching skin, that it's not yet part of who I am, but rather something I just have to do between September and June. Which isn't to say I'm not passionate about it, because I am, but I've gone very quickly from idealist to cynic about the entire career.

It's been a big summer: new teaching position, new apartment, potentially a new car -- I don't think I ever mentioned that someone smashed up the side of my car while it was parked near my school and charmingly failed to leave a note. I've been driving it and its $2,000 (!) worth of damage all junk-heaped up ever since. And it will be an even bigger fall. I'm prepared to come to work early and stay late, to feel a little exhausted and overwhelmed at times, to make foolish mistakes, to rue the day I ever wandered into the university education office and asked, "Is it too late to join the program?" But I'm also grateful for the things that will make this year different from my miserable first year teaching: the support system I have among my fabulous colleagues; the little bag of tricks I've managed to develop over the past two years as a direct result of being pulled for coverages so very, very often; and the loveliest place to come home to that I could ask for (mostly because it includes the soon-to-be Mr. Brave).

Goodness knows my school has plenty of goals and expectations for me in the coming school year, but here's a new one of my own: Be wacky, sometimes. If that doesn't help my teaching fall into place, at least it will help my sanity -- and that more than anything is the best I can ask for.

5 comments:

Miss A said...

I feel ya on the nightmares. I don't want to wish summer away, but it would be great to not dream about school already...

bun2bon said...

Going "very quickly from idealist to cynic" seems to happen way more often than I ever realized.

Although I still use "realistic" for "cynic." Perhaps I'm still too "idealistic?"

http://thischildleftbehind.blogspot.com/

Her Artichoke Heart said...

I'm going back to teaching this schoolyear after not having taught full-time since 1997, so I don't think I'm 100% comfortable in my teaching skin either -- but we will be! Best of luck for a good year!!

Angela said...

Three cheers for increased wackiness in the classroom! This is one of my goals, as well. :-)

Fer*Cambe said...

I'm with Angela and you on this, 2nd grade requires all the wackiness you can conjure, and every year getting back to school is easier and more exciting...!