a few (sleepy) thoughts on teaching

i have wrapped up five straight days of new teacher orientation. let me sum up the general schedule for each day:

– NETWORKING. if i never hear this word again, it will be too soon. there were 1400 of us there each day, terrible coffee, delicious yogurt, vendors and organizations vying for our attention (free pens! raffles! i think i grabbed a stress ball in the shape of a pencil!), and it was CHAOS.

– keynote address (some stellar, some kind of meh, most about how much good we’ll do as teachers and how we shouldn’t panic)

– work with cohort. my cohort is about 20 other new third grade teachers from across the district, and we’ll meet once a month for a seminar to check in, vent, laugh, possibly cry, and learn about a specific aspect of teaching. over the past week, we covered county-specific regulations, lesson planning, classroom management (we use a specific system), classroom set-up, and on and on and on.

i mean. these days ran from 8:30-3:30, adding commute time on either end and my getting to a satellite parking lot to take a shuttle to the school…plus wednesday we new teachers from my school had a thing from 5-8 at our school and i basically stopped speaking in full sentences that night. it’s been a lot of information, in a short amount of time, and i am simultaneously feeling more prepared and more freaked out.

i had a stapler-induced frustration attack yesterday evening. i want my room to be so many things, y’all – welcoming, and informative, and safe, and with clearly defined areas for the kids to work in, and i’m just…overwhelmed by it. i have a big box of a room, with furniture and some miscellaneous things left by the teacher who retired from that room. i have my owl-themed things. i have stuff. i just can’t picture how it goes together. and then i think about the first day of school, or open house (next week), or how co-teaching will work, and i just…gah. it’s a lot. i want to be a great teacher. i want to survive my first year. i want to help my kids see education as one of the most powerful tools they have in building the future they want. i want them to love third grade. i want them to love me (trust me, it stings when an 8-year-old tells you she hates you).

my dad told me to think about this first year as a marathon, not a sprint. having done hill repeats (sprint up a hill for 30 seconds! then trot down! REPEAT SIX TIMES. die.) for the first time today, i think it’s safe to say i feel a bit more sprint-y right now in my job. i have so much to do and i want to get it done now, and i need to remind myself to slow down, hydrate, and pace myself wisely. sure, the last bit of my year may be a mad dash, but i am just starting. i need to take deep breaths, trust that it will come together, and believe in the training i have received.

tomorrow i’ll spend some time working with my co-teacher in our room. i need to put the alphabet up (cursive and print), i want to laminate things, and i need to remove some creative graffiti from under a table. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this.

for the night, it’s red wine and csi: ny. and possibly falling asleep on the couch. also, if you want to see the best thing i’ve ever heard about education, watch the below TED talk:
http://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion.html

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