Friday, February 17, 2017

chispita teaches: on being a new teacher

Intentionally chose more than the highlights reel. Behavior challenges, you drive me bonkers.

I haven't written anything here in a while. And the odd thing is, unlike my last, large chunk of radio silence, it wasn't what I wanted to do. Did I have a ton of ideas about what I could write? No. But I wanted to be writing. I wanted to be creating. I wanted to be doing something that established an identity outside of being a teacher.

When I think of my first few months teaching, I keep thinking back to my first crocheted pieces. They were made out of some scratchy acrylic I picked up at Hobby Lobby and I didn't know how to count stitches, so they all fanned out like lopsided aprons. My stitches were pulled as tight as can be, but I was learning. I was proud of those useless crocheted trapezoids. This year, I feel like everyday looks like those mistake-riddled first crochet practices. I have had more moments than I'd like to admit when I looked out at the room and thought, "I have no idea what to do here." But I've had other moments when I've looked out and felt something click together.

Those are the moments I love. Looking out at all my little readers working during our reading workshop. Seeing their smiles when they first come in in the morning. The growth that some of my shouter-outers have made in the past few months. Reading their writing in all its bizarre wonderment, and especially seeing the growth they've made since that first writing piece. Those moments when I help a student calm down who was having a tough time controlling his emotions.

I'll be honest, there are days when I have to remind myself why I'm doing this. But there are moments when I know all the way down deep in my toes that this is where I'm supposed to be. Pulling guided reading groups and modeling math strategies. I love what I do, when I'm not slowly devolving into insanity.

The changes that have happened in my life over the past few months have been immense. I want to sleep so much more, but I've gotten even worse at sleeping. My most common crafting involves cutting up paper for student projects or coloring in a sign for our calendar or creatively DIYing my own worksheets, to save a penny or two that I'd otherwise throw at Teachers Pay Teachers. I have two enormously messy unorganized rooms instead of one. I can count on one hand how many times I've gone out and done things in the past two months. I'm more anxious than I've ever been in my life. There are more moments of struggle and failure and learning than honestly I've ever had in my life. But I remind myself that after lots and lots of practice, my crocheting stopped looking like a mess of twisted yarn and started looking like the pattern pictures. And some day, teaching will feel less like an experiment in Not Drowning and more like an exciting challenge.

And you know, I think it won't be long now.

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