Being an adult is stupid. Being an adult when you look like you belong in high school is even stupider. And trying to teach high school when you look like a student is the stupidest.
I would be okay with telling you that probably 90% of my students love me. I mean, there will always be the ones that drive me nuts but as a general rule my students are pretty awesome. Mostly I think that I think this because they tell me that I'm their favorite teacher almost every day. It's real good for my ego.
But also, I am kind of stressed out, you guys. For a lot of different reasons and it just makes me want to complain all the time and gripe about how much things just kind of majorly suck - but, look, I'm trying to be positive here, okay? However, it doesn't really seem to be working.
My principal was in my room for an unannounced formal evaluation Monday during fifth period. I love my principal, but you know, evaluations and things. So my students are painting these days, which is messy and chaotic and I'm all sorts of here and there and everywhere. They all have a billion and three questions, which I'm supposed to be the one answering them all because I'm the teacher. It was pretty crazy in here during that fifth period, I tell you. But, right? It's always crazy. It's art class.
So I was feeling a little rocky about this evaluation, you guys. I think it borders on dumb reasons like holding myself to a really high standard because I'm supposed to be good at this, right? And dudes, I was unprepared for that meeting. He thinks I have a good handle on my classes. It's okay that it's a little chaotic sometimes, I mean, art! For crying out loud, Natalie! And then I breathed this mondo sigh of relief as his only real critique for me was that I needed to dress a little more professional.
I look like the kids, these days. And that's not because I don't wear dress slacks and nice shirts it's just because I look stupid amounts of young. Like maybe I could be 17 years old kind of young. This is a source of great frustration unto my being. But you know, I figured I'd buy some new clothes soon and it would all be okay. He didn't seem mad about it, he wasn't mean about it, just trying to help me out with some good advice. And that was the end of that. High fives all around!
But that actually wasn't the end of that for me. I guess that some people are talking about it behind my back? Did you know that? Teaching high school can sometimes be like being in high school, and isn't that kind of sad? I felt like I was dressing to the same level as my fellow teachers, but I guess when your face looks like a baby and you're not any taller than the majority of your students, then people think you're not as professional as them when you don't dress to the nines every day. What, do I just need to come to work in a nice suit now? I'm an art teacher. I can't afford to buy really nice clothes to have them ruined in my art room with paint and glaze and glue and whatever else I get myself into.
I guess it looks like I'm going to start wearing an apron all the time so that people know I'm the teacher.
Clothes is a lame thing to get worked up about. But here I am.
Look, there is this love hate relationship thing I have going on with my first year of teaching. The other art teacher has loads more experience than me, she already has a sense of who she is as a teacher. She already knows how to deliver lessons. She's worked out her classroom management. And here I am, the full time teacher, still floundering around like I may or may not know what I'm doing. Her students got themselves in the paper today and what have my students done? Why am I not more involved? Why am I not pushing things more, necessarily?
I'll tell you why. I'll tell you exactly that I am having a tough time just staying afloat in this, the busiest of my life professions. I am behind on grading, I'm just now starting to get a real handle on my classes and who I am as an educator of art. I'm starting to figure out how to best deliver assignments and I'm doing research that other teachers have already done in their years of teaching their subjects to best figure out how to say the stuff and do the things and be the teacher. This is my first year EVER not my first year at this new school, do you know that?
I don't know how people do it. I don't know how they go through their first year and dress awesome and get involved with all the things and teach perfectly all the time. And you know why I don't know that? It's because NO BODY gets everything right their first year. And I feel like some people, the more they go on with their career, the more the memories of their first year struggles fade.
I'm sorry my clothes aren't nicer. I'm unmarried and poor. I'm living on my own income and no one else is supporting me. I'm sorry I haven't been more involved with things outside of school, but I'm still trying to figure things out inside of school.
And what's even more ridiculous is that I spend all this time yelling at myself inside my head because, hey, I could be better. I should be more involved with the things. I should be doing this and going here and standing out everywhere and doing all these things that other people expect me to be doing. I should be doing all the things, you guys. Besides, this is the real world. And in the real world nobody gives you any breaks because you're new, right? You just have to be amazing all the time, is how I feel about it. So how can I complain? Because no matter what job I go to or where I end up there will always be things like clothes following me around.
My advice to myself is just to suck it up and keep on going. Being an adult is quite possibly the stupidest thing I've ever done.
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