One year anniversary.

teacher

A year ago today, I signed my contract and started teaching, fresh off a plane from India.

In that time I’ve had 540 students come through my classroom. I’ve graded approximately 1245 papers. Gotten 14 paper cuts. Overslept once. Played hookie twice.

They say your first year of teaching is hard.
They say it’s nearly impossible.
They say you’ll never forget your first students and you’ll change lives.

I’m too wrapped up in this life-consuming profession to know if those things are true.
But I do know there are days when I love it and days when I hate it.
I know it’s not easy, but it is far from being the hardest job in the world.
And I know I love 2 hour delays almost as much as I love snowdays.

 

 

Lately.

PicMonkey Collage

In this house, there has been lots of laughing, eating, smiling, hugging, friends, teacher talking, and love, love love.
But mostly, it’s just been about cookies. 

COOKIES

One time, we made milkshakes out of snow.

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Me:  I feel motivated!  I’m ready to conquer the world and be who I am!
Bearded fella:  You mean after you nap?

This is the story of last week.

#iamold #noengery

Teaching: in three simple steps?

3easysteps

Tomorrow I will meet my new students. All 140 of them. (I’ll have 26 of the same sophomores).

And I’m nervous.

My incoming students have enormous shoes to fill. The kids I had last semester were incredible. I loved every second I got to spend with them.

They left my class wanting to change the world and believing they had the tools to do it. I said goodbye to them knowing it was true, they were capable.

The thing is, I’m not certain I can make this happen again. I’m not sure how it happened the first time, but I think I may have narrowed it down to a few steps.

STEP 1 Trust: I haven’t been teaching  long, but long enough to learn that they key is trust.

In order for my students to learn from me, they have to trust me. Trust that I’m going to do the things I say I’m going to. Trust that I’m going to be there every day. Trust that I’m not going to humiliate to demean them. Trust that I genuinely want to help them improve and I care about who they are as a person.

STEP 2 Belief: A student has to be motivated for learning to occur. In order for that to happen, I have to convince them that they are worth the investment of time and effort. They have to believe in themselves.

STEP 3 Love: I don’t get to go to work, go through the motions and get the job done. I have to do it with love. I have to get attached. I have to care. I have to feel their successes and I have to endure the disappointment when they give up. That’s what makes it real for me and I think that authenticity is a necessity. I’m not just playing a part, I’m their teacher and they deserve the real deal.

What else is there?

I’m sure there is more to it and  I just don’t know it yet.

What do you think? What does it require for a teacher to be successful?

I don’t get to actually start my new year until I get to go back to school so here is what I want this year.

More:

  • tea
  • organization
  • loving
  • writing thank you notes
  • baking
  • of my Mom
  • listening
  • doing
  • laughs
  • trying to eat hard boiled eggs without vomiting. 
  • confidence
  • photo taking
  • cats 
  • phone calling
  • stickin’ it to The Man
  • empowering/inspiring/motivating my students 
  • hugging

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Less:

  • stress
  • talking
  • ignorance
  • googling pandas
  • scrambling
  • snooze buttoning 
  • attitude
  • insecurity
  • complaining
  • texting while driving
  • SNOW DAYS FOR THE LOVE OF SWEET TEA PLEASE DEAR LORD MAKE IT STOP I WANT MY LIFE TO HAVE MEANING AGAIN #cabinfever

Drops mic.

We’ve been in this apartment for so long, every room is a panic room.

The roads are really bad. It’s been four days since the snowpocalypse and the bearded fella won’t let me have a panic room.

Me: We need to build a panic room?
Him: Why?
Me: For panicing.
Him: But why?
Me: Intruders and stuff. You don’t really need your closet, do you?
Him: So you’re just going to shut yourself in my closet? Okay.
Me: No, we need to reinforce it with steel and snacks and a password.
Him: You need to stop reading the internet.

I miss real life.  Real life is buried under the snow and I wonder if I’ll ever see it again. 

ImageI’ve graduated to Hello Kitty footie pajamas.
But I feel like I’ll never be warm again.

This morning I got up, made a pot of coffee, put on all of the clothing I own and a pair of boots, and then I braved the snowy trek to school. There wasn’t a single car in the parking lot and I’ve never heard the building so quiet. There was an eeriness to the silence. My ears kept searching for sounds between bouts of copying and pandora.

I scrubbed the counters. I re-edited my syllabus and adjusted my unit plans. I wrote my objectives for the week on the board. I printed out attendance sheets. I spent hours in my classroom, nesting.

As I discarded seating charts from last semester to replace them with my new students’ names, I was prickled by pangs of nostalgia. I’ll miss my kids from last semester. But at the same time, as my day progressed, my eagerness grew.

That’s an unfamiliar feeling, one I’d almost forgotten completely:  Excitement.

I haven’t been excited about doing my job for a long time now. But I’m refreshed, I’m prepared,  I’m more experienced than I’ve ever been. And it feels really good.

For the first time in months, I don’t just feel capable of doing my job, I feel driven to do it well.

It was during this motivation and coffee educed high that I got the call notifying me that school was canceled tomorrow. It was like letting go of a balloon I’d exhausted all of my breath blowing up.

I miss having a purpose.
I miss my dresses and colorful tights.
I miss my students.
I miss teaching and I miss learning.

(Disclaimer: I would argue that there are few people who love and covet snowdays more than me. I’m not sure where this urge to go back to school is coming from. Maybe I should check WebMD?)

Snowed in: Day 143

I’ve been wearing the same fleece pants and valentines day socks for more days than I can count. The goosebumps on my skin are permanent, luckily I’m too cold to feel.

The bearded fella and I are down to the last of the food. I fear that I may have to fight him for the last of the spinach dip and Hawaiian bread. There will be blood in these hunger games.

For about 45 minutes today, he was convinced I was a ghost and the real Jordan had died months ago.

“Are you real?”
“Yes.”
“Why don’t you have any body heat?”
“Because it’s -12 degrees outside.”
“No, I think it’s because you’re a ghost.”
“Okay, fine.”

The birds on the roof are making us crazing and plotting against us. The electricity flickers. The water from the faucet won’t stop drip-drip-drip-drip-drip-drip-dripping.

We don’t even know what’s real anymore and we are about to go Tell-Tale Heart crazy.

So basically, to ensure the survival of the human race (RE: the bearded fella and I) one of the following two things needs to happen:

1. Criminal Minds becomes available on Netflix
2. The snow melts, freeing us from this prison, allowing us to rejoin outside civilization.

All of the snow

…that has ever existed some how ended up in Anderson, Indiana.  

I tried to cross the street to go to school and that was nothing but a non-productive, near-death experience. So I stayed home, ate things, laid on the couch with the bearded fella and argued about what we should watch on Netflix.  
Life treats me so kindly sometimes. 

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I found this little bugger at the Newport Aquarium. We were kindred spirits.

5 things that are difficult for introverted people (i.e. me)

1. Meeting people’s families
2. Checking out at the grocery store
3. Parties with Co-workers
4. Events with more than 4 people
5. Conveying to people how much you appreciate them.

It’s not that these things are hard, it’s just that, as an introvert, you always feel like you’re doing them wrong. You aren’t shy, but you feel unworthy of people’s time, attention, and praise. You don’t share your funny stories, your jokes, or even your personality because you don’t want to burden others with something they may not like.

At least that’s what it’s like for me, a constant struggle to express.

All of this has more to do with confidence and less to do with actually being an introvert, and I know this.
Maybe I use introversion as an excuse sometimes.
Maybe it has to do with self-value.
Maybe I should eat the cookies I just took out of the oven.

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