They surrounded me and walked me down to the classroom that was as of that morning officially mine. The principal who probably was hesitant to hire me in the first place looked me up and down and said something along the lines of you can do this.
Or maybe that was just in my head.
One teacher really did reassure me of that and the assistant principal gave me a smile that may have been the best encouragement in that moment.
It was show time.
I nervously made my way into the room. This class of 32 students started back at me. I had been a math teacher the past month but this is where my teaching career began…
And almost ended.
There is nothing like the first year of teaching. New expectations and various issues come up every day. The demands are endless and to be honest, everything I learned in college about teaching was pretty much useless.
These kids had personality and were gifted in so many ways. BUT THEY DIDN’T LISTEN. They also loved to act out and me being the first year teacher, did not have a clue what to do.
Survival became my goal.
Two different mentors were assigned to me due to the fact that this was an accelerated class in the school. One was very proper and by the book. She also had a stern way about her that frankly terrified me. The other was a retired teacher who was really nice but wasn’t that effective with her strategies and modeled lessons of helping me. At least it was entertaining for my sometimes assistant and I to watch.
Then I found a copy of the book, “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”. After reading a couple of chapters out loud, we were all hooked. It created new energy and excitement in the room.
More importantly, it created a bond.
We completed writing activities and art projects centered around this book. Their parents shared how much their kids were loving it. It took us to the end of the year to complete it.
During this time, I attended soccer games by some of the kids and I got to know them more. We had our fun moments. They started to listen and I began to truly teach. The mentors got quieter as I found my way.
That year, I went from crying practically every day from frustration to crying that last week of school because I didn’t want to let them go.
This class brought me strength and experience in ways that would pay off in years to come in my teaching career. They also taught me how to find the joy in teaching even when it is hidden at first.
My class of firsts have gone on to be successful young adults. I keep up with them through social media. I am so proud and amazed by all of them.
Teaching is incredible in the moment but in the moments that come later and you find out how your part mattered, that makes for some defining moments to smile at.
Thank you so much for reading! Are you a teacher? Have a teacher you admire? Join in on the conversation at http://40wishesandcounting.com/
And if you enjoyed this, please look for my essay at the incredible new anthology from Jen Mann available on Amazon TODAY!