Thursday, January 19, 2012

Coming Up for Air

Well, I made it past Christmas!! There were plenty of times that I didn't think I would. I'm not going to lie: the fall was hell.

Everybody knows that the first year of teaching is the hardest. But what no one tells you is that it's perfectly normal to want to step in front of a bus.

OK, I really shouldn't joke about suicide, especially because a teacher in my district recently committed suicide and said the cause was work-related in her note.

So, let me revise. My friend who is a veteran teacher actually told me the stepping-in-front-of-a-bus thing. What she said was: "You almost get hit by a bus. And you think, 'oh man! That bus almost hit me! And if it had hit me, I wouldn't have to go to work today.'" She also told me about how she would be driving along in her car and see, say, a construction worker, and think, "I could be a construction worker." She was telling me all of this to reassure me that I wasn't wrong about choosing to be a teacher; I was just struggling through my first year.

It was as if she was reading my mind! I pass by a large prison complex on my way to work every morning. There are always dozens of county sheriffs crossing the street. They're smiling and laughing with one another. I think, "maybe I could be a sheriff. Or a prison guard." Yup, a prison guard. By the way, I don't mean to pass judgment about any of these jobs. The point is that these jobs are COMPLETELY WRONG for me and my friend. I could no more be a prison guard than a squirrel could be the Secretary of State. That's just how warped your mind becomes. Any job, ANY JOB!! sounds better than your job.

Another friend who has been teaching for a few years kept promising me that things would get better after Christmas. So far, they actually, surprisingly, have. It's still a crushing amount of work at a breakneck pace. There are no extensions, no postponements--the show must go on. But it does get better, especially if you have a support network like mine. You start to love the students. It gets easier to plan. It all starts to come together.

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