Thursday, August 30, 2012

my first year

I suppose since my position on the pay scale claims that this is my second year of teaching, I can't actually claim to be a first-year teacher. I did spend an entire calendar year teaching my k-babies how to hold pencils and count, but this is a whole different ballgame. These kids are less likely to pee their pants, and more likely to fail state testing if I turn out to be a fraud. The stakes are higher, the hours are longer, and the paycheck is better (although rent is far from free). This is my first official teaching job, in my opinion, and I want to document everything so I don't forget how I'm feeling right now, in two weeks, at Christmas.

It's shocking to me that we're wrapping up the second week of school. What happened to all those days I spent reading random books from the library or organizing all my plastic bins with my grandma? How is it that I've already lived in California for an entire month? I already have a driver's license and license plates. I have a most-frequented grocery store and favorite farmer's market. I don't need google maps to get me around town anymore.

As each day goes by, I write blog posts in my head about what life is like here. I have one about dating my city, one about why I deleted my facebook, and one about kids who already hate me; however, every night when I get home, I can't muster up the energy to type them out. I leave school around 7, sometimes 8, come straight home, make dinner to the best of my ability, and promptly fall asleep on the couch. Around ten I stumble to my room and try to fall asleep in my bed, but by then my mind is just rested enough to want to consider what types of vocabulary activities would be best the next day. I remember when I got my first job waiting tables, and I used to be up all night rehearsing how to write the orders on the order tickets. Now, I'm up all night trying to figure out why one class seemed to understand pronouns while the other one didn't.

All that to say, I've only written one post since the school year started, and I know I'll look back on these few weeks and wonder how I managed to get through them. Teaching is hard. I put in a lot of work, and my reward is thirty kids shooting lasers at me with their eyes because they just don't care about the difference between third person limited and third person omniscient. Sometimes they get so out of control that I'm shaking with fury as I order them as far away from my room as possible. And sometimes they borrow my favorite book and come back the next day having read the whole thing and wanting to know which faction of society I think I'd be placed in if I lived in that particular dystopia. 

It's one of the biggest emotional roller coasters I think I've ever experienced. Yesterday, I locked my door and cried for half an hour. Today, my disaster class was actually pretty controlled while I was being observed, and I felt a small taste of victory. I know today was only day nine of being Ms. Raasch, but so far, I can say with quite a bit of confidence that even with the hangups and train wrecks, I'm still really glad I'm a teacher. Despite the fact that I work quite a bit, I still don't feel like I'm going to work in the mornings. Seeing my biggest problem child successfully identify 50 different words' parts of speech makes being called a racist the day before not so significant.

Sometimes I still feel like I'm playing some kind of teacher game. It blows my mind that I'm the one the parents email when they see their kids are failing or that nearly a hundred a fifty students identify themselves as mine at some point throughout the day. I can't walk from my classroom to the office without being ambushed by "where are you going?" and "do you need me to do anything for you?" and "yo Ms. Raasch, do I gots to come to class?" I met a parent today and got to tell her that her son has had some trouble paying attention, but that today he was phenomenal and did all of his work. And I get paid for that.

Hopefully next week I'll manage to write down more stories so when I look back on my first year of teaching, I'll be able to remember exactly how much I hated and loved it at the same time. But right now, it's 10:30, and that's way past my bedtime.

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