Now that I’ve returned to the classroom, people keep asking: “How is it going?” And my answer has been pretty consistent: it’s wonderful, but it’s also kicking my proverbial rear end! It’s not like I forgot how complicated teaching was, but I didn’t expect to make so many rookie mistakes all over again.
My first rookie mistake? I totally forgot to erase things from the white board in-between classes, which gave all of the answers to the next class. Next? I forgot to take attendance – for two days (I’ve fixed this since). I didn’t even touch grading for a few weeks amidst the survival-hustle and, when I finally hunkered down to tackle it all, I realized that I had forgotten how to use the online grading program. (This took another week to figure out because I’m slow like that).
On the upshot, I have finally stopped passing out on the couch right when I get home from work… I can actually make it until at least 8pm now. Oh – and I have successfully left my classroom once during lunch to interact with other adults! It has been truly eye opening to see how the continuum from novice to expert can ebb and flow depending on years away from the classroom, teaching assignment, and campus.
Thankfully, I get to attend new teacher meetings on my campus, which are required for people who have been newly hired to the district. I know, I know… I’m not exactly “new” since I previously worked an eight-year stint for the same district, but I have to admit that I am glad this policy is in place because the meetings have saved my sanity! Knowing that I have a safe place to be around others struggling with similar newbie issues (like inhaling lunch on the way to find a working copy machine and adjusting bladder strength to get through the day) is immensely comforting.
As I finish the current grading period, I’m drinking lots of Airborne to stave off the annual cold until I can get to Fall Break and slip into a blissful, much-needed slumber. And as I move into the next grading period, I will keep hugging students at the door each day, will keep my classroom well stocked with antibacterial facial tissue and hand sanitizer, and will try to leave my classroom at least once per week to eat lunch with others instead of using it as an additional prep period. Though this newbie is exhausted, her heart is full and all is right in the universe.