I’ve felt so completely overwhelmed for the last few weeks that I’ve lost most of my ability to FEEL anything. If I had stressed out over everything there is to stress out over, then my head would have exploded by now. I simply don’t have the emotional capacity to feel any more stress. It’s probably a blessing.
I had district professional development all week, and let me tell you, it isn’t exactly riveting. It’s way better than most of my TFA sessions were, but it’s still pretty dull. A lot of our training this week was to fulfill the 60-hour requirement for our liscensure. So because we have to have 60 hours of professional development each year, we have to kill a LOT of time with inefficient meetings, which is silly and stupid if you ask me. But I really don’t know very much about it and I can’t change it, so I’m moving on.
Last night was Open House, and I really enjoyed it. It was reassuring to meet some of my kids and their parents, and to get a feel for what 7th graders are like in general. Some of them were so little! And all of them were sweethearts. I handed out my recently-obtained business cards (thank you vistaprint.com!) and tried to sound authoritative and impressive. I think I made a good impression.
Apparently it’s cool that I’m from California; my department head overheard a student saying “I hope I get the math teacher from California!”. If my students are impressed and that will give me any sway with them, then I’m going to let my California flag fly.
I’m sure this is a universal new teacher thing, but I feel SO out of the loop. If I only knew about things that people told me directly, I wouldn’t get anywhere. It’s tricky because I don’t want to be obnoxious or jump the gun, but I need to know these very important things that I still don’t after hours and hours of professional development.
As it stands:
- I have my classroom mostly cleaned, organized, and decorated. New teachers have a lot of work to do in this area. I’m sure this will be SO much easier next year.
- I don’t have my room key or a building key. I have a key to something, but I’m not sure what it unlocks. Cool.
- My class numbers right now are: 2, 25, 16, 24, and 2.
- I don’t have a phone or printer in my classroom and don’t know if I’ll be able to get them.
- I can’t log into edline yet.
- I’ve discovered the joy of laminating.
- I’m teaching a class called “E-lab”. I’m not really quite sure what it’s about. And I don’t have a class list.
- I do have a mailbox which I check about 5 times a day, unnecessarily.
- I haven’t explored or toured the school, really.
- I have no idea how to work my SmartBoard.
My life feels completely out of control. It’s all of the little things that add up. Things like my sunglasses being broken, my car being filthy, not having electricity in several outlets in my house, driving on a spare tire from a blowout earlier this week, being completely sleep-deprived, having a messy and cluttered bedroom, having a completely empty savings account, having several TFA emails to answer that I haven’t answered yet, and having a chipped molar that I’ll probably have to miss school to take care of. I occasionally have flashes of panic that break through my numbness, especially when I look at my bank accounts.
I’m having a hard time being decisive about my classroom policies/procedures. One of the downsides of having read so many teaching books is that I know a gazillion ways to do things, which makes it that much harder to decide which method to actually use.
My biggest dilemma right now is about my “teacher persona”. I know I’m going to be relentlessly strict in enforcing my rules, right from the first minute of class, but I’m wondering: should my demeanor be stern or enthusiastic? I feel like TFA has given me contradictory advice on this one. They say to be stern and strict, but then we’re supposed to sell our students on these really cheesy Big Goals and class themes and all of that stuff — how on earth do you do that without being enthusiastic?
Right now I’m leaning towards warm and friendly but slightly reserved, and definitely strict.
My school is on an AB block schedule, which means I have 3 classes one day and 3 different classes the next day. This kind of throws a wrench in a lot of the ideas I had, because I’ll only see my kids every other day at best. BUT the good part of it is that I’ll essentially have 2 first days of school.
So, so much to do. I thought that I’d be (more) ready for school to start at this point in the summer, and I thought that I’d be able to relax this weekend. I’m going to force myself to relax a bit on Sunday, but other than that it’s going to be my usual work work work. Hopefully I get everything done.
One good thing about the last few weeks is that I discovered that I do in fact have a work ethic. My struggle, I think, will be restraining this mule-like work ethic of mine so I don’t burn myself out. I’m already almost burned out, and school hasn’t even started yet.
I think things will be better once school starts.