Teach Houston

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 09 2013

November blues.

I’ll be honest – I’ve been really struggling, this first week of November. I think I am finally hitting Teacher October but just one month delayed. My kids came off a week of review and a week of testing so it’s been hard for everyone to get back into the swing of actual learning & content delivery. Thanksgiving is coming but is still just far away to seem ephemeral. What’s gotten me most unhappy is Daylight Savings Time. I know it sounds weird to say this. But getting home to darkness is pretty depressing, especially since I just remember all those times in college when I would come back to my dorm in the 5:45 PM darkness and always have so many people to talk to. I remember lots of things from college winters. Weekends spent playing sports, Sunday afternoons doing work in coffee shops, long life conversations at night. I know that all good things must come to an end and someday, I’ll be able to build a life for myself just as fulfilling/rewarding as the one I left behind. And many parts of my life right now are wonderful. But the few parts that are not keep gnawing at me, and its hard to keep those feelings away in the evening darkness.

I’ve been living under constant stress of getting evaluated the next day. At nights I’m finding it difficult to take a deep breath (despite the fact that I’ve been evaluated already and it went well). One of my mentors has told me repeatedly I shouldn’t stress because I’m progressing well and evaluations are just a growth tool. Rationally, I know that. Irrationally, I’m still scared.

I spend my weekends doing errands, cleaning, and getting lots of school stuff done. Should I be more adventurous? Should I be going climbing or hiking or something? Or taking mini day trips to exciting places? I find myself frequently consumed with worrying about the ways I should be relaxing (I know, absurd) and it’s hard to actually just turn the “worry” part of my brain off.

Despite this, there are bright spots. Many bright spots.

1. I spent 3.5 hours at happy hour last night with teacher friends and it was wonderful.
2. I drive to school in sunlight now!
3. Thanksgiving – and the chance to see my family for the first time since before Institute – is fast approaching.
4. I spent the entire week teaching my kids about the Iranian Revolution and yesterday, I had them do a synthesis project in which they had to pretend to be a girl growing up the midst of the Revolution and write a letter to an American pen pal about it. They loved it. And clearly learned things about Iran/dictatorships/revolution/Islam. Maybe I should switch to Social Studies?
5. We start Persepolis on Monday and I’m excited to try some new whole-group-discourse ideas.
6. I got a summer internship offer from a company I’m thrilled to be working for! So my summer will now be structured, and having little to nothing to do with my current job, and I’m excited for the chance to stretch my brain in different ways.

and last but not least…

I have really great friends at school. I work with wonderful people. They make my job happier, easier, and more fulfilling. They are people I genuinely want to hang out with in non-school-life.

I have great students who ask good, strong, real questions.

I know things will get better each day. I know they will.

One Response

  1. Meghank

    To be fair, you should also teach them about the CIA-sponsored overthrow of democracy in Iran in 1953. It’s really what put Iran on the road to extremist revolution in 1979. Let me know if you’d like more information about this.

    I think there should be long stretches of time when a teacher is sure she won’t have a drop in observation. I think this is much more conducive to good teaching than always worrying who might be coming in (especially if you have to use one of those checklist observation forms Bill Gates wants everyone to use).

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About this Blog

Journeys, challenges, & writings of a first-year teacher.

Region
Houston
Grade
Middle School

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