When someone asks, "How's teaching?" I get embarrassed because there's really no simple answer. I can't just say, "Oh it's going great!" or, "Actually, it sucks!" or, "It's freaking exhausting!" or, "I love it!" because any one of those phrases alone would give someone an incomplete idea. Teaching is great! and it does suck! And jeeze, it's exhausting! But I really do love it.
But now the problem is if I respond with something like, "It's great, sucky, and exhausting, but I can't get enough of it!" people will think I'm going insane. Send me to a nut house or something. All I can do to prove I'm not losing my marbles is provide stories that support each statement.
It's going great:
Teaching IS going great! My kids are amazing! They are so smart and so capable. They did reports on Utah's state symbols in small groups and they completely blew my mind. They created posters, planned the presentations, and researched the information all by themselves. I almost teared up on presentation day. They are rock stars. For the most part, I've stayed organized and clean, which I'm incredibly proud of. I don't know if you've looked at any other teacher desks lately, but I'd say being able to see the top of mine is a pretty big deal. On another happy note, I've had a few parents donate supplies to the classroom and I'm just tickled pink about it. Some of my lesson plans are just straight up amazing and creative. I'm super proud of that. I mean, come on, I used Taylor Swift's Red to teach similes and metaphors. Genius. My management has been pretty decent, and it's getting even better. My relationships with my students are all positive, but professional. It's great.
Teaching really does suck. It sucks! Kids get bullied. Feelings get hurt. I have to mediate arguments and disagreements. I hear the most depressing stories about home and family life. They break my heart. I'm emotionally drained after being supportive and concerned for 24 other souls. I have to do recess duty in the cold, and after-school duty on occasion. I have to hold my pee for 4+ hours at a time. I can't munch on snacks whenever I want to. I'm supposed to be all-knowing and able to supply my children with bandaids every five minutes when another scab is scratched off. They are always wanting to share irrelevant stories. They need to get a drink every two minutes, and then cry when I won't let them. They complain about handwriting time. I even have to buy their supplies with my own money. I catch their colds, I watch them pick their noses... the list goes on and on, people. It sucks.
It's freaking exhausting:
I feel like every first year teacher should have to sign a form saying "I UNDERSTAND I WILL ONLY SLEEP, EAT, AND BREATHE SCHOOL FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS!" I knew it would be really time consuming, but I thought it'd at least still have time to communicate with the outside world or itch the occasional scratch. Planning, preparing, shopping, grading, and making crap for my classroom is taking up my life. I can't catch a break and it's killing me. I rarely get to sleep before 12, and I'm out the door by 7. I work from 8-6, come home and stuff some food down my throat, then I'm back in my corner grading and planning. Then the process starts over. The sad thing is, I work so hard to prepare for the next week, and then there's a new week after that. and a new week after that. and after that. Sometimes I feel like it's never going to end. I don't want to neglect my poor husband, but I feel like I'm giving my whole self to barely hit the minimum amount of work I need to do. Oh, and my feet are practically falling off. Any good shoe recommendations? I'm dying over here. It's exhausting.
I love it:
I LOVE IT! I promise! Even though I spent the last two paragraphs complaining about it, it's amazing. There's nothing more thrilling and rewarding. I have 24 people who write me notes, draw me pictures, and laugh at my jokes. It's great. I love getting them excited about learning and watching them progress. It's amazing to for me to watch a student struggle, present the material to her in a different way, and see the light bulbs come on. A few weeks ago, one of my girls couldn't round numbers to save her life. Rounding! She just didn't understand. I worked with her in a small group setting and one-on-one until she felt comfortable enough to explain rounding to me. We took our unit 1 test a few weeks ago, and she got 16/17. It's incredible. Some days are bad, but I always have a second chance. There's always the next lesson. My students are so passionate and dedicated. We learned about evaporation, and a few of my students went home and conducted their own evaporation experiments! I love sharing my enthusiasm with them, and singing with them, and learning with them. Watching Bill Nye, conducting experiments, and writing metaphors... how could you not love it? Right?
So... that's my answer.
And here is a picture.