I am pleased to inform you that I’m past the stage of “boo hoo, poor me. I suck at my job.” I have moved onto taking note of what I’ve learned from my mistakes and am constructively pursuing better approaches.
Part of this has been putting my foot down and being the “bad guy.” Yes, it sucks. Several of my students tested to see if I was kidding, learned that I wasn’t, and, for the moment, they’re listening faster. It’s nice feeling to know they believe me when I say something.
The school has recruited a wonderful lady whose job is to go from school to school and help them become better places for both the students and teachers. We chatted during lunch break and she showed me something that is backed up by years of observation and research:
I laughed so hard when I saw it because I fit the graph perfectly. Thankfully, I’m back in the rejuvenation phase, but it’s more of a bumpy upwards curve than the straight one you see. No big deal, though.
I’ve been getting to know my fellow staff a bit better, too. Us teachers got together during one lunch break and chatted the half away, which vanished faster than a two-year-old being called for bath time. We enjoyed it so much that we’re hoping we can manage to keep doing that once a week. It was so nice to gather outside pure professional time.
I also got to spend time with the middle school teacher two other days. We had fun chatting while carefully entering grades for my P.E. class, and before that, we chatted after school about the middle schoolers. She helped me get to know her and them better, and we started building a tag-team approach to our students so the messages we’d send them would be more uniform.
All that aside, there’s still the mountain of learning I have to do as a teacher. I’m trying to look at what I’m doing with a microscope, instead of a telescope. I’ve been taking notes on myself, the choices I make, and then talking about them with my boss and a fellow teacher, depending on who’s the most appropriate to seek advice from. My mentors have been generous and constructive with their feedback, and it’s been very helpful. I’ve even got to sit and listen while my boss spoke over the phone with a parent.
I’ve still quite the long ways to go. I’ve created a bigger challenge for myself by being too nice from the start, but I blame no one but myself. I know the difference between caring and coddling, but at least I better understand why many parents try to shield their children from the hard truths of the real world. I owe it to my students to prepare them for the real world. Wish me luck as I learn how to do that as a teacher!