I knew it was a disaster the minute those LOUD bells started going off. It only got worse as we moved outside.
Nothing like leading 26 kindergarten children outside during the first fire drill of the school year…
in the first week.
Those little munchkins looked like they escaped out of the wicked witch territory. They were hopping and excitedly talking.
It was a teacher nightmare.
This was my second year teaching about 12 years ago and my first time with kindergarten. It wasn’t starting off well.
And of course when that happens, someone is usually watching.
At the end of the day, I got called into the principal’s office. She sat me down and told me that someone important from the district had been there today and had watched the scene unfold. Obviously, this person was not happy and had some very choice words to say.
I thought I was done for.
My voice started to shake and I know I apologized but I don’t remember what excuses I gave or what I said to try and save myself. I knew I had to do better. This was a new boss who had not been there during my first year. So much for making a good impression.
She looked at me and told me that I was a good teacher and we were going to make me great.
That’s what she said she told the district person too.
Driving home, this song came on the radio.
I started to cry. I held onto those words and they would play in my head throughout that year and sometimes still do whenever I doubt myself.
That school year, my principal sent me to workshops and gave me pep talks to keep me going when I struggled. My assistant principal built me up by watching my lessons and giving me feedback. I will never forget when she said one lesson stood out for its creativity and enthusiasm among the class. They moved me to second grade the following year and sent me to training sessions where I got to come back and give workshops to the staff. The talented teachers at my first school were such a huge support system for me. I will never forget the kindness they showed or the inspiration they gave me.
Fourteen years in teaching now and I have always been fortunate enough to be surrounded by amazing administrators, coworkers, and students who make me look good based on their own achievements.
But it all started way back when and for that I am thankful to Mrs. Bailey, Ms. Hill and the 195 staff in New York.
And if I could speak to that district person I would tell her, I can lead a class out during a fire drill like nobody’s business but more importantly,
people believed in me and for that, I am a teacher you would want for your own kids.
I am beautiful.
Me during my second year of teaching.
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Always believe in yourself!