Two weeks have gone by since I last blogged, and to be honest, I haven’t even wanted to. All weekend I kept thinking, “what have I learned this week?” and the thought itself seemed too overwhelming to answer.
My first two weeks teaching were the steepest learning curve I think I’ve ever been on. I thought internship was stretching, but nothing can really prepare for those first few weeks as a teacher. There’s just SO much to learn. You have to know the kids, their interests, the curriculum, the outcomes, the direction you’re headed, how you’re going to get there… mostly, it felt like I just had to know what I was doing the next day. When they say “survival mode” it’s really not a joke.
I wrote a blog post after my first week teaching, reflecting on the things I felt I had learned in my first week. I think those will be things I will be re-learning again and again throughout my career.
I don’t like the idea of re-learning. It sounds painful and like a lot of work. I like learning something once and feeling competent. Only, I’m realizing that doesn’t work. And it’s not authentic. Learning is messy. It sometimes takes a lot of tries and a lot of re-learning to get it right. And even so, does learning ever really stop? Should it? Do we ever really “get it right?” Yikes, for a girl who likes her comfort zone, I’m way out of my league.
One person I really admire is my mom. She hasn’t had the easiest year, and she’s had to face a lot of changes. She started a new job a few months ago, and she still feels like she’s just getting the hang of things. Tonight she said, “Man, I feel like I’m learning, and re-learning every day. I forget things and I make mistakes and I’m not sure if I’m doing things right.” But she IS learning. It’s real and it’s sometimes messy. When she takes time to look back at the last year, she realizes how much she’s grown – not just in her career, but also as a person. She has been so far removed from her comfort zone, but she’s also overcome things she would have told you she couldn’t. I am learning too, even when it feels like sometimes I take two steps forward only to take three steps back.
These last couple weeks haven’t been a cake walk. They’ve been really challenging. I have a lot of different kids with completely different needs. I’m teaching five different classes in a day and none of them are what I majored in. Busy, is an understatement. I feel I am trying something, and then trying something new. Finding what works and what doesn’t, and then realizing that what works for one class doesn’t work for another. Trial. Error. Try again. Learn. Unlearn. Relearn.
This last week, I had a lot of fun with my students. I let go of some of the anxiety over all the things I am learning/relearning and simply don’t know, and I began to really enjoy my time with the kids. I still have a lot to figure out, but we all do. And we always will.
In the meantime, another new teacher and myself volunteered to direct the school’s One Act play because I don’t have enough to do…? Wish us luck…