Thursday, September 4, 2008

What a difference a year makes

This time last year, my teaching life was a mess. I was crying in the staff bathroom, searching job sites and waiting for my health benefits to kick in so I could score some anxiety medication.

Which makes it even more gratifying to report that one year later, the school year is going swimmingly. Of course, I can say that now because I haven't really started teaching anything yet. But I am one hundred times more relaxed and confident than I was last year. And I am actually excited to pull my groups and start teaching reading!

It's true what they say: You really do have to come back for a second year. And, the craziness of my position last year is paying off this year, because I already know all of the school's first, second and third graders. Which makes it easier to yell at them in the hallways when it's my turn to sweep the floors at dismissal.

So, first-year teachers, take heart: Your life will improve!

On another note, a neighborhood blog I read got into a discussion about teaching. A teacher posted a little joke about teachers being underpaid. Someone else responded: "Underpaid? I don't think so. Perhaps if you worked 12 months out of the year, and got only 2 weeks vacation instead of 2 months. Perhaps if you worked an 8 hour day, like the 9-to-5'ers do, instead of only less than 7 hours....Sure you have to deal with rotten kids from rotten homes. So do the police, only they get paid less, and put their life on the line. Teachers have the easiest and best compensated job of all in my opinion."

OY! I didn't even know where to begin. I put on my argument face and started gearing up for a fight when my fiance noted, "These people don't know what they're talking about. There's no reasoning with them." Still, it burns. I think because most people have been in school and had teachers at some point in their lives, they assume they know exactly what teaching entails and how easy it must be because teachers get all that time off. I wouldn't walk into an operating room or a courtroom and presume I could take the place of the nurse or the judge, but everyone thinks they can be a teacher. Plus, good teaching looks effortless, which makes observers think it can't be that hard.

Anyway -- tomorrow is the first Friday of the school year. Enjoy it! I know I will.


Anonymous said...

I am a retired teacher who is now substituting. I have heard comments over the years about how lucky teachers are because they work short days and have a lot of holidays. Your fiance is right about them never understanding. Unless you have worked as a teacher or lived with one, it's impossible to really know how much goes into the job. On a funny note, my second grade grandson told me that the kids are the ones who do all of the work and that I shouldn't be tired after subbing. I just had to smile.

Jules said...

i'm so glad to hear your year is starting off well! i too didn't believe how much better the second year would be--but man, what a relief! :)

Teacher said...

You give me hope... This is my first year teaching in the city (not my first year teaching ever, but my previous experience was in a rural town). I was definitely hiding in the teacher's bathroom Friday trying to stop crying and make my face go back to normal color so my students wouldn't know I was so upset!

O and the comment about teaching being "easy"... I'm right there with you... those people have No Idea. I'm beginning to think that the only reason teachers have day's off is so they can take a mental break before they mentally crash. And I wish I could hold the normal person's 9-5 work day... but I'm just dreaming now! :)

Anonymous said...

I found your blog to be very inspiring. I am in college now studying to be an elementary teacher. I am glad to hear that teaching gets better after the first year.