When I decided that I was called to be a teacher, I was a 19-year-old college almost-sophomore who had also decided that I was in love and was going to transfer universities, away from the best friends I'd ever made, and to the man I'll love for the rest of my life. This was a very romantic stage of my life. I was having a lot of quiet time alone with myself, trying to figure out how to make the best of what seemed like the worst, and how to also keep my feet on the ground when I felt like flying for happiness. Conflicting emotions, yes. A time for idealism to take root and thrive? Oh yes.
So when I decided to become a high school teacher, I had a beautiful picture of my future in mind.
Students, coming to me with their problems, which I effortlessly solve with a kind smile and a few words--wisdom beyond my years, of course. Plenty of extra time to build strong relationships with co-workers. Having just the right attitude and love for the hard-to-reach student. No kiddo would ever drop out after they met me. I'd grow daffodils and give away lollipops and lemon drops, and my room would have kittens and bunny rabbits, and all students would leave my classroom in a state of pure zen, and they'd go out into the world preaching the good news of Education and Love and Jesus, even though I'd surely teach in the hardest of inner-city schools with the strictest of administrators who wouldn't let me live my Christian life publicly, but don't worry--it would just flow from my pores.
Idealism is a beautiful thing, really.
Thing is...really...I think I am in the ideal situation. I've yet to find any kittens in my room, and lollipops are more expensive than I thought, but my school is lovely and wonderful and jolly, and I love it. Perfect? No. But good, so very good? Yes.
This is my classroom, view from the back corner. I'm the lucky duck who got a classroom full of new desks!
...and now from the door. Cutesy little room with a big blank wall...don't know what to do with it! Any ideas?
So, I didn't think about the amount of paper flow from me to my students back to me , back to my students...and so forth. I didn't have any sort of tray system my entire first year. Whatadummy.
I also didn't think about summer reading assignments. Eek. Sorry kiddos!! I'll be done grading them soon. Ish.
TRASH. Oh my gosh. We throw out so much every day! Luckily, my school is in its second year of a paper recycling program, and it's really a blessing.
Emergency backpacks! Complete with class rosters, a mini-stop/go sign, a whistle (I think), and there used to be some snacks in there for the diabetic kiddos. Yes, used to be. Curious?
...mice. Another thing I didn't think about. First fire drill of my career, I check the bag, only to find this little hole, and no more peanut butter crackers. Sick.
First of all, I get to control my own temperature!! Horray!! Second of all, I never realized what a temperature difference there is with and without twenty other bodies in the room. Poor AC unit works pretty hard with the kiddos are there.
Tardy sheets. And tutorial sign-ins. And bathroom sign-outs. Micro things like this are very hard to remember for a macro-manager like me.
I never realized how heavily I'd rely on supplemental materials! And BINDERS. Good gosh.
I'm not sure why I have a roll of toilet paper...but I'm sure it'll come in handy sometime.
Sticky notes. Vital. You may get me some for my birthday or Christmas or both if you wish.
Filing! Between communication documentation, SpEd kiddos and their paperwork, training materials, and who knows what all else...yeah. Filing. Didn't think about that. Also, I didn't have the hardware to actually hang my files in this little guy my entire first year and half of the next. Really comes in handy.
I definitely didn't think I'd be the sponsor of any organizations!! I have Beta club, which is great. The kids are awesome. And I think I'm finally figuring out what it actually is. Which will be to everyone's benefit.
I just like this photo. :)
Keys! Remember how your coaches would always swing their lanyards around? I don't know why they do it, so I can't answer that question for you, but I can tell you that I'm definitely not very good at it.
I didn't realize that a lot of technology that made its way into high schools (between the time I graduated from one and then came back to work at one) looks like ET.
But most of all, I didn't realize the blessings I'd start receiving so soon. I have been privileged to teach the Best People in the world, and I love them all!
I'm not trying to brag that I'm so loved (ain't braggin' if it's the truth!! haha, just kidding), I just want to share that the public school system still works. The kids are getting smarter and stronger. The teachers still laugh. We love each other. We're willing to fight to get the respect we deserve--both students and teachers--and we have a lot of fun. Pay me what you want. Take away funding, whatever. We're still going to do our jobs and do them right, because it's the Right Thing. I'm not a veteran teacher by any means, but I do love my job, and I still have a little idealism somewhere deep inside me, so watch out.
I believe that every kid has the right to be taught by teachers who aren't hardened, supported by peers who know what grace is, and lead by administration who makes kid-decisions. That's another thing I didn't think about when I decided to become a teacher. Convictions and feelings and whatnot. The life-long battle. It's beautiful, really.