So Octobers are difficult months, I've come to the conclusion. Driving back home from parent/teacher conferences tonight, I was reflecting on the last year of my life. I never went to parent-teacher conferences as a student teacher, so tonight was a new experience.
I've said before that teaching is hard. Nathan hears it from me all the time - this is the hardest thing I've ever done. And first years are always the hardest. Even though I had a semester of student teaching, that's all I really had. One semester. And I was never really fully in charge of my class either. I mean, it was a great experience, but it doesn't fully prepare you to take on a classroom all your own.
I remember last October in particular. It was the busiest and hardest month of my student teaching. I was writing this absolutely stupidly huge lesson plan for three consecutive lessons that built on the same concepts and were obscenely large in their required fields of information. Way more information was requested on the school mandated lesson plan form than my principal has EVER asked of me to show him. And then there was also the TPA, where I not only had to video myself teaching a lesson and crop it down to a ten minute segment, but then I also had to reflect on how the lesson went, how the students reacted and what I would change about the lesson had I needed to reteach it to the same group of students and also how I would change it to teach it to a new group of students. I mean, talk about a headache.
And then there's this past October. Dudes, it was the worst probably. I went home and cried on multiple occasions. I got in a mildish case of trouble with my vice principal, and while he didn't yell at me, he was very firm. Students are not supposed to wear hats and I needed to grow a spine. ouch. Plus, my students were just pushing my buttons every which way I turned. I kept trying new methods, different seating charts, different punishments, and things would work for a little while and then I'd be back to square one. I was a little at a loss for everything and I just kind of wanted to quit.
I think that's part of why I was a little nervous for tonight. After how October went, I just kind of feel like it knocked me on my butt and that all the parents would somehow know that I sucked as a teacher.
What surprised me though, was that there are students who are enjoying my class and they go home and talk about how they like art and that I'm one of their favorite teachers and wow. I really needed to hear that. Lately I just feel like I'm maybe not ready for this job and that perhaps I'm a little too incompetent to be a teacher. October had way more bad days than good ones, so I felt like I was losing it.
But tonight, tonight I felt like maybe I didn't suck as bad as I thought I did. And it forced me to realize that I have some really talented students who really do enjoy my class, so I must be doing something right. Right? Hopefully November will be a nice change of pace. I know it will still be challenging, I just want to feel like maybe I have my feet underneath me.
I suppose I'm getting there, but we're always our own worst critic. But just like I had to make myself become a runner, I also have to make myself become a teacher. I'm going to conquer this hill if it kills me, you know? Shoot.