Wow, it’s been a little over a year. I guess you can say that my time has been well-occupied.
I’m now 26…woohoo.
I technically finished grad school in December, but there’s no Winter graduation ceremony, so I walked in May.
My first year of teaching is over – well it was officially over on June 4th. Afterward, I went to London and Paris for a week. That was fun. I had no problem with pickpockets and everyone was pleasant, even the Parisians who have a bad rep. I think I lost 3 lbs from all the walking haha. I think it’s strange/interesting: how the Brits ask “Are you alright?”, how the Paris restaurants are only open from 12-2pm and 7:30pm-11pm, how the street signs in both cities are on the sides of buildings, and how people in Paris just walk around with baguettes (they are delicious though). Anyway, my trip is not the purpose of this post.
The purpose of this post is to instead write about my first year of teaching. This past school year, I taught chemistry to 104 students – mostly sophomores and a few juniors. I enjoy my job. My students have made me laugh hysterically, sick with worry for them, and want to pull my hair out. I now know what being a parent feels like haha. Teaching is a thankless job, but I know what keeps me going, and thankfully that passion is still there. My first year has been everything I hoped for, despite the expected downs.
Surprisingly, very few of the downs came from my students, and the large majority came from some of the other teachers that I work with. I can be sensitive, but even I know the difference between casual joking and bullying. The other teachers in my department made comments about my classroom management or teaching personality (I smile too much apparently). Maybe they are tired and disillusioned with teaching. Maybe they were annoyed by my positive outlook and naivety. Maybe they were envious of the instant rapport I built with my students. Maybe I am overthinking things. But maybe they failed to realize that it was my first year, and that I was dog paddling, trying to stay afloat. Yet they never failed to undermine my authority in front of my students and coworkers whenever they got a chance. One teacher next door (can you believe she is actually my mentor teacher) constantly (daily) made comments about the noise level in my classroom. My students couldn’t have an ounce of fun without her complaining about the noise. It wasn’t even that damn loud; the walls are so thin that you can hear when the projector screen is being pulled up/down in the next room! Another teacher took it upon herself to come in my room, after school, and kick out 3 of my students…who were in the middle of talking to me! She wrote them up for being upstairs after the supervised activity bell rang, despite the fact that they were in a supervised activity – my classroom haha! I was so angry I contemplated taking off work the next day, but sub plans are a hassle to write haha.
Well, I’m the youngest teacher in the department, and it was always damned if I do, damned if I don’t. As you may have guessed, I’m still a little bitter. During the school year, I held everything inside. Besides lesson planning, I’m also using this summer to reflect on the non-teaching aspect of my job. Not only the student-teacher moments, but the teacher-teacher moments. I hope to be a stronger person all-around this upcoming school year, and I strive to find my confidence and voice when dealing with other teachers in my department. My high school isn’t the most toxic environment I’ve ever worked in, but it can be unpleasant enough to ruin some of my days. On a positive note, due to under-enrollment, I will be teaching a freshmen biology class next year, along with 4 other sophomore/junior chemistry classes. I’m nervous because I dislike biology/don’t remember it, so I will be learning along with my students haha. But I’m also excited because teaching only chemistry this past year got a bit boring, so having biology will break the monotony!
Here’s to a brand new school year!