When I finished my teacher prep program and was working through my first teaching job at a large public school, I suddenly remembered pulling all-nighters in college. And I hated grading. And planning was crazy. And learning all of the stuff at school, including what kinds of resources were there, and who to ask for what, and who to not ask for what, and how to order lab supplies, and what an evaluation really means, and how the union worked (and lots to think about with the narrowly-avoiding-a-strike negotiations), and salaries, and… oh yeah… the kids. Being in class was actually calmer and more fun than being outside of class, and I loved it.
I’d been told that the first year is mostly about survival. Just make it through. I’d had a good feeling because I’d taken copies of worksheets (and therefore, a rough curriculum guide) from two teachers while student teaching. But merely having a curriculum didn’t prepare me for all of the issues at hand.
This year has been rough for a number of reasons. Some are personal, but in addition to teaching my normal load of kids, I’m also working on renewing my teaching license and trying to combat the teaching sloth that I’ve felt recently, as well as a general degree of negativity. Oh yeah, and spend time with my family and take care of myself. It’s a hard balance, but this year feels a lot more productive than the last couple.
So here’s my question: when does it shift from merely surviving to thriving? What’s the thing that makes you (as a professional) get beyond the challenges of day-to-day junk, and transform into the teacher you want to be?