What was I thinking? Going back to the classroom, after five years at the district office as a coordinator over a few important programs…what was I thinking?
I am 5 days into my 180 day journey with 18 first graders. They are chatty, energetic, compassionate, and eager to help and assist. A couple are strong willed, power hungry, defiant, and difficult. I leave work hours later than normal with bags much heavier than before. I go to bed exhausted and don’t sleep well. I’ve lost weight from having to rush through that teacher lunch and not get my hour break. What was I thinking?
All week, many have asked, “Well, was it everything you wanted it to be?” or “Are you happy?” or the best one, “Are you regretting it yet?”
YES, YES, and Heck, NO!
Oh, my gracious, I knew it was going to be difficult. I never for a single moment thought this would be easy. At the beginning of August, I kissed my family and told them that I promised to be back on top of my life by October. I knew that it would take time for me to get back into the swing of things, but I never remembered my feet hurting this badly! I’m pretty sure my love for coffee has tripled…if that is even possible.
Why in the world did I make this decision to start with? Simple, I observed a classroom lesson on passion and following your passion every day of your life. My passion is TEACHING! I was sitting on the sidelines and cheering teachers along, but so badly wanted to be back in the game myself. It was time. It was time to either get back in or hope that I never had to go back. So much has changed in the past few years that if I waited any longer, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it. I deeply wanted a chance to change lives and build relationships one more time. I wanted to see if I could still reach those students who so desperately needed someone in their corner…I wanted to be that someone.
First Week Jitters
The night before the first day of school, I could barely sleep! I was so excited about meeting and greeting my students. It was a magical day!!! My students were perfect. Those “behavior problems” didn’t even appear to be problems at all. They were sweet, respectful and with a little extra attention and energy, enjoyable. Hahahaha…boy did a couple of them have me fooled….joke is on me. The honeymoon is now over, and real life as begun. Don’t get me wrong, this week has been awesome. First grade is an adjustment after being used to second graders for so many years. They certainly aren’t ready to learn, and don’t remember the expectations from last year. Also, you can tell that they are used to having two adults in the classroom. We have made baby steps towards progress. Our hallway behavior could use some help, but our morning routine is ROCKING!!!
Centers and Stations
Gosh, darn it! This one has been hard for me. I so badly wanted to start groups and centers/stations day 1. A wise teammate suggested I wait a day or two. Hahaha…she was so right! They were NOT ready for stations on day 1. They were NOT ready for stations on day 2. In fact, when I started stations on day 3…they were NOT ready then either. So, on day 4, I backed up. We did the center activity whole group on my document camera. Then, we practiced with a partner. Day 5, we were able to handle one rotation with appropriate behavior and expectations followed. Yay! I’m hoping we are headed in the right direction! Do you have any advice for introducing first grade centers/stations?
I’m thrilled to be back in the classroom. It isn’t easy. It is hard. I’ve already cried once over feeling like a failure. Thankfully, I have 175 more days to become better and be better. I deserve better. My students deserve better, and I will be better. It is going to take a few more weeks for me to get my teacher routine back, like taking attendance, but I am excited about this journey. I feel refreshed and happy. My joy is back! My passion is back! I’m excited about getting up in the morning. I am excited to see those smiling faces in the morning; and I love greeting those little firsties with hugs at 7:30. Find your happiness! If it is in the classroom, do it! If your happiness is leadership, be a leader! If your happiness is in coaching other teachers, be an instructional coach! Find what motivates you! Find what makes you happy! And then do it! No matter what anyone says or asks! Much love my sweet friends! I am one HAPPY teacher!