And Now...For the Truth

Yesterday I came to a realization that I've been lying about my school year. My writing hasn't been total fabrications, but a series of lies of omission. I've been trying to craft a narrative of positivity and a fresh start. Who is this narrative for? Myself most of all.

The truth is, I'm feeling exhausted, burnt out and discouraged. And I haven't yet finished my first full week of teaching.

What is going wrong? What is so different from the past two school years which began with (relative) calm and optimism? Why does this year feel chaotic and overwhelming?

On a practical level, it's the number of bodies in my room. Last year I had a ridiculously low roster of 19 students. While my classroom was still full of challenges including non-readers and students without basic number sense, the small class size made most management much easier. This year, with 29 students, including three who are new to the country and two other non-English speakers...not so easy anymore.

Beyond the logistics of a classroom that's almost double the size of last year, I just don't feel psychologically ready. I mentioned that I felt I had spent the summer backsliding, but I think I may have understated that feeling. Slowly I'm getting my bearings on all the pieces that go into teaching, but it feels like a struggle in a way I haven't experienced since my first year teaching.

The students (a handful in particular) are talking nonstop. During class discussions, they're having side conversations. When they line up for lunch or dismissal, they're talking. When I'm giving directions, they're talking. And it's only the first week of school! Where's my honeymoon period?

But then of course, there's a glimmer of hope in today's teaching. I felt a hint of rhythm in my teaching. In class discussions I caught a glimpse of what could be some awesome accountable talk. I know enough not to declare "Mission Accomplished," just yet. Still, if I can build on today I may create the narrative for my school year that is positive and completely truthful.

Comments

Hugh said…
Press on, my friend.

Here's a favorite quote from Churchill, and a few more to light up your evening.

http://thinkexist.com/quotes/like/never-never-never-never_give_up/15825/

BTW, I'm not sure this profile goes to my current blog, www.repairman.wordpress.com .
ruben_b said…
Ha! I posted the same quote on my students homework sheets. Funny coincidence. Thanks for the encouragement.

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