Coping Mechanisms

I have to constantly remind myself: you knew exactly what you were getting into. You knew this was supposed to be the hardest year of your life. If I don't do this, I start to think crazy thoughts. Thoughts like how nice it would be to sleep in until 7 or 8 each morning. Thoughts like sending my resume to nice, cushy, bullshit jobs at PR and law firms. But a quick gut check - reminding myself I knew what I was up against when I enrolled in Teaching Fellows and convincing myself I am strong enough to do this - usually is enough to stifle those misguided fantasies.

Slowly I am trying to come to terms with the fact that whatever validation I hope to get as a first year teacher is at least eight months away. What a strange and frustrating concept. You're going to go through the hardest experience of your life, but it won't be worth anything until it's all over in June. Until then it will only get marginally easier. And most likely it will get harder first.

I made a trip to Barnes and Noble today and bought four books- a book of word puzzles for one of my problem kids, a book of writing prompts called The Daily Spark, Not in My Classroom: A Teacher's Guide to Effective Classroom Management, and The Bully Free Classroom. Right now I'm drawing from a vast and varied network for support- my friends, family, fellow teacher, fellow Fellows, books and perhaps most importantly music. There's a lot of stuff on my iPod that helps pump me up for the day, or relax me after a long day. One thing I've learned is a little Miles goes a long way after a day in my class.

For those interested, here's my go-to pick-me-up playlist called Musical Prozac (not proven to be as effective as the pharmaceutical variety). Feel free to make suggestions for additions with a comment below:

1. Dave Matthews Band - "Two Step"
2. Sufjan Stevens - "Chicago"
3. The Beatles - "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da"
4. Led Zeppelin - "Over the Hills & Far Away"
5. The Beatles - "Here Comes the Sun"
6. Dave Matthews Band - "Ants Marching"
7. Ben Harper - "Better Way"
8. Dispatch - "Bats in the Belfry"
9. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - "Is This Love?"
10. Architecture in Helsinki - "The Cemetary"
11. The Polyphonic Spree - "Light & Day"
12. The Beatles - "Getting Better"
13. Death Cab for Cutie - "Marching Bands of Manhattan"

UPDATE: I do want to add one more thing. As bad as this week's Monday/Tuesday one-two punch was, I feel like I turned a corner with one of my problem kids. By approaching his misbehavior as a learning problem and not a behavior problem I was able to get him on task with extra prompting and extra attention. I wasn't able to give him enough attention to keep him on task all afternoon, because there happens to be a class of 25 (and growing) other students. But, still it felt like progress.


Rebecca said…
hey jude, without a doubt. add it immediately. every single time i listen to it it weirdly kicks things into perspective for me. i also have to remind myself to stop bobbing my head and clapping along to it like a crazy lady when i'm in public, but it makes me that happy. take a sad song and make it better, rubes...

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