3 days. THREE DAYS. That’s how long I have left before I can officially say that I have survived my first semester as a teacher. A whole middle school special ed teacher. Wowza.
My first 2 months as “Ms. Dunn” was like waking up and having to give a presentation in front of a thousand people in the nude. I dreaded it. I was the epitome of terrified everyday. There were so many new things that I didn’t know where to even start. Now I am roughly four months in and while my class size seems to continuously grow so has my heart and my patience. Don’t get me wrong, I can smack my teeth (that took practice) and dial their mama’s phone number faster than they can roll their eyes, but I love them all the same.
There are mornings that I have to absolutely convince myself to get out of bed, days that I let my temper get the best of me, and times that tears are the only way to cope with the days events. It hasn’t been all sparkles and sunshine, but I feel all the wiser for being where I am and who I am with.
Here are a few things that I have come to learn in my short time as a working adult.
- My kids are equally hilarious as they are an absolute headache. They are as kind as they are sneaky. They are as tender as they are hard, and as broken as they are strong.
- More than learning how to teach (if I can even say that yet) I have learned so much about how to co-exist with people in such a capacity. Being a teacher means spending more time with these children and coworkers than I do awake anywhere else.
- Learning to create and respect boundaries.
- Learning that veteran teachers in fact do not want to talk about a lesson plan at 10 pm on a Tuesday nor at 9 am on a Saturday. Hard facts.
- Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve as a middle school teacher. Seriously, don’t. Your babies will not be ugly and you are not “bald headed” no matter what that girl says.
- Maintain composure. Even when they greet you in Spanish, describe their bodily functions, show you their black belt moves, or even refer to themselves as a “chunky chip”. It’s not funny, it’s not funny, it’s not funny.
- Sometimes you want to literally throat punch a 12 year old. You can’t. It’s important to remember that.
- Not everyone is in your corner. Choose your confidants wisely.
There are hundreds of other things I could come up with, but in all honesty there is one driving force that makes this game of life possible and that is the desire to learn. I want to learn how to be a good teacher, a reliable coworker, a dependable friend, a kind and loving person. I try to accept constructive criticism and adjust myself accordingly. With that quality alone, I hope that this whole “teach kids who really don’t want to be taught” thing can be something I love for a long time and can eventually thrive at.
Here’s to 3 more days plus 30 years..