The first adventures of a new teacher…

As the Christmas break approached, I had never been so excited for a break. I had a great semester and I had learned so much, but I was more exhausted than I could remember. All I wanted to do was NOTHING for a full two weeks. And I did, it was great.

People asked me so many times over the break, “So, what are you doing now?” And I always repsonded, “In January, I’ll be subbing, and hopefully I’ll apply for some positions that are open for the second semester.” Only, as the break continued, it actually BECAME January. How did that happen? All my friends were getting ready to go back to school, and I wasn’t even really sure what I was getting ready for. A new season, I guess, and I wasn’t even really sure what that meant.

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The Friday before classes started back up again, my teaching certificate arrived in the mail. This is good. This is important. This is exciting. This is sad. Why was I sad? I wasn’t really sure, but I felt this sense of loss amidst my excitement.

Monday came, and I was still waiting for my username to use the website for substitutes. I was getting anxious. Everybody was back in school, and I had nothing to do. I visited the school where I interned and returned some marking. I went to Starbucks. I stopped by the bank. In the afternoon, I checked my email and there was my username. I was officially a substitute teacher.

Tuesday morning there were no substitute jobs. By the middle of the morning, I was bored to tears. Then, at lunch, I received a call. Grade 3/4 for the afternoon. I was thrilled. I headed to the school and was soon greeted by several energetic 8 and 9 year olds. Immediately, I made a rookie mistake. “What’s your name?!” A little boy asked. “Kailee-SHOOT, whoops, Miss Brennan. My name is Miss Brennan.” *hand over face* “KAILEE?! Is that your REAL name? Your REAL name is KAILEE! Guys, her REAL name is Kailee. Kailee Kailee Kailee.” I pretty much made his day.

The rest of the afternoon was great. The kids were fun, and the EA was helpful and kind. Two little girls showed me their dance they made up to “Tik Tok.” I left feeling relieved.

The next day, I took a job doing grade nine science. What do I know about science? Not a lot. But, I googled Meiosis and Mitosis at 7:30 in the morning, did some reading and watched some YouTube. I was basically an expert (that is a joke). I was back at the school where I interned, so I felt excited about that. I taught three grade nine sciences in a row. As I struggled to get the projector going in the first period, I was sweating bullets. But, as the morning progressed, and I re-taught Meiosis and Mitosis, I began to feel more confident.

I taught everything this last week. I thought science was a stretch. Then, I taught math, French, and grade nine boys phys ed (dodgeball, anyone?). I taught at my old high school. I taught on Friday when everybody stayed home from the snow – I had one student in French 10. I learned more about teaching in one week than I ever learned in a semester of university. I had to use my teacher-voice and tell some grade tens to “seriously, BE quiet.” To which they responded, “We listened when you were our teacher, but now you’re our SUB!” Grrrreat.

It was a weird week. It was exciting and exhilarating, but it was also hard. For four years,  I had a purpose – I needed that degree. Everything revolves around that. Your evenings are spent doing homework, you work a job to pay your tuition, you volunteer to build up your resume. And then, all of the sudden, it’s over. You’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do, and you’re left with the question, What now? I think that’s where that sense of loss comes from. My friend, Cher, called it “experiencing the pains of a new season of life.” She also asked, “Where will you devote your time? What do YOU want to accomplish now that school is done? Is it teaching or is it something else?  What are some short term goals? And what are some long term goals?” I left that text unanswered, because right now, I don’t have answers.

This is a new journey for me, and an exciting one. I am working on answering some of those questions. I have an interview on Tuesday for a position starting in February. Eeek! I’ve been studying and trying to prepare. First short term goal! Deep breath.

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