For those of you who don’t know, I’ve just started my first teaching job. I’m at Peacock Collegiate in Moose Jaw where I interned this past fall. I’m teaching full time – Media Studies 20 (two sections), Social Studies 9, and Information Processing 10 (two sections). I’m sitting in my classroom right now, thinking back through the week. I was sitting in this exact spot last week, full of anticipation, not sure what I had really signed up for. I was excited to have a space to call my own (to make pretty), and to get started doing what I’ve spent the last four years learning about.
On my classroom blog, I have a page called “Our Learning This Week,” and it only seemed right that I also reflect on my own learning this week. I think it’s important to be transparent about what we’re learning if we expect kids to do the same. To be honest, I feel like the learning “curve” I’m on is straight up. I’m teaching Information Processing – I feel like I am having Information Overload. It’s been a really amazing week, but it’s been stretching. These are some of things I’ve learned:
- 75% of my 113 students’ names, I’d say. Last semester, I taught grade ten and twelve. This semester I’m teaching grade 9,10, & 11. So I really didn’t know a lot of the grade 9 & 11s. My head was spinning my first morning, thinking I’d never be able to remember who everyone is. I also kept wondering, “Why did so many people name their kid Austin in 1998? It’s not fair.” Altogether, I teach 6 Austins. That’s a lot of Austins. Anyway, what seemed like an impossible task, got better each day. I can’t say I for sure know everyone’s names, but I know a LOT.
- I’m going to spend a lot of time at school. I’m already stashing food here because by 8 pm, I’m really hungry and somehow still here. I’m going to bring a blanket for when it gets cold, and maybe a pair of slippers. I hear eventually you’re able to spend less time here. I don’t think that day is anytime soon. Might as well embrace it.
- I can’t do everything. At least not in the first week. I do what you can. I am a perfectionist at heart. I like when everything goes smoothly, that’s a lie, I like when things are perfect. But you can’t do everything. You will die trying.
- It takes 3 weeks to develop a habit. My teaching neighbour told me this on Friday. Routines don’t happen over night.
- Stop stressing out. Stressing doesn’t actually help me accomplish anything. It just makes me anxious, sweaty and near tears. There’s a sign in the hallway that says, “everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” It inspires me.
- I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I’m teaching a computer lab, which is awesome. I do love technology – I think there are so many ways to use technology in the classroom to connect and to empower learning. I have so many ideas. But, I haaaaate when it doesn’t work. All of my students are creating online portfolios for our class and that’s where we’ll be posting their work. We tried to set them up every day since Monday. At first, the site wasn’t working. Then the kids’ emails weren’t working. Then they weren’t getting confirmation emails. It was enough to make me cry (doesn’t take much right now). Thursday, we finally got things going. Technology is awesome when it works. Our poor computers too… by period 5, they are so slow that it takes kids 5 minutes just to open their browser. It’s frustrating for me to watch the kids be frustrated. On the positive side, the lab is getting new computers in the summer!
- My administrators are the best. They have been so helpful and patient with my million questions. The other staff are also amazing. Everyone that I see in halls is always asking how I’m doing, and it’s nice to know that they all had a “first year” too.
- I need to take time to do things that I love. While I feel busier than I ever have been in my life (and I’ve always been a busy person.. ughhhh), I still need to take some time for myself. Whether that’s going for a run, or watching a TV show, or having a bath, it’s important to have some way to unwind a little – even when it’s seems like I don’t have time for that. Your brain needs a break sometimes.
- Sleep is my new best friend.
Look at that. That’s a lot of learning in one week, and that’s not even scratching the surface. I’m in for a LOT of learning I think. Trying, and making mistakes, and learning, and trying again. I am now stroking “write a blog post” off my TO DO list and going home.