#Year17Year1: What was it like, really?

What was it like, really? This is loaded question. If you would have asked me this in November 2015… my answer would be completely different than it is now. I spent the first semester trying to remember how to teach and learn content. I was full of anxiety and stressed to the max. I had no idea on how to balance work and home life. I was constantly worried about getting ahead. I am not sure it showed at school to most who casually observed. There were one or two people who knew the depth of my despair.

As I spiraled down the anxiety ridden path, I bought things to try to keep me from falling. Anything that would remind me who I was. The journal below was something to remind me that it would be ok. This journal became my emotions notebook throughout the year. Sometimes I would write journal entries, other times just phrases or notes to remind me of things down the road. The bracelet is one of many I eventually ended up purchasing from Hippy Do Da Creations. The bracelet and the others I purchased helped remind me that I am not the norm and I shouldn’t be. They were great little pick me ups doing the day when I would look down and see the messages.
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There were so many things, tangible and non-tangible, that got me through the tough days. (My husband was my biggest support through it all.) I will write more in depth about them on another blog post.

How did this change for me? Winter break I completely walked away from school. I didn’t log in to my email. I didn’t grade a paper. I didn’t start working on lesson plans until the weekend before school was back in session. I took two weeks to remember who I am and to spend time with my family. Oh, and there was also the pharmacuticals prescribed to me by my doctor to help with the anxiety. (Yes, I had to take anti-anxiety drugs to help – more to come on that later.) When I returned from Winter break I was a new person, fresh, relaxed and more in control. Second semester I was back in my groove. I remembered what it was like to teach and to be “the teacher.”

At the semester change, I started two new classes but also kept two year long classes. With my new classes, I started strong. By strong I mean, I was more confident in my subject manner and classroom management. (Classroom management was not an issue but being in a new school and not teaching for 10 years, I was a little uneasy first semester.) The relationships I built with my year long students were becoming fun. The relationships I built with my new students came easier and faster. Managing my time became easier. I learned what worked for my lifestyle for planning, grading, and having a life. In February, I was already looking at curriculum and how would I do things differently next year. My students made me smile. I looked forward to seeing them everyday. That to me was the sign that I wasn’t leaving teaching. The end of the year got here fast. I learned a lot about who I am as a teacher, what my classroom environment needs to be, and where I want to go as a teacher.

Over my next few blog posts, I will be reflecting in depth on the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of #Year17Year1.

Year 17 in Education Year 1 in Teaching


I have finished my first year back in the classroom after a 10 year hiatus in educational technology. I haven’t eased in to summer yet. I am still working and learning. I will officially start summer on Saturday as we head on to vacation. Since school has been out I conducted a webinar with National Geographic Education (embedded below), taken part in planning meetings with National Geographic, attended a week long institute on Geo-Literacy and Leadership, and this week I am attending a Geographers in the Field offered by the South Carolina Geographic Alliance. In two weeks will complete 80 hours of professional development! For anyone who says teachers get 3 months off in the summer… you’re wrong. First off, it’s not 3 months… and second, we spend a lot of the summer learning and planning for the next school year.

With it being summer, I am reflecting on the past school year. What did I like? What didn’t I like? What did I do right? What did I completely fail? What were my successes? The aha moments. The HOLY CRAP moments. What lens did I have teaching coming from a district office position? How has the classroom changed since I last entered? I almost broke mentally, how did I fix it? What got me through the tough times? What has professional development and building my professional learning network done for me? All of these questions and statements are swirling around in my head. So this summer I have decided to start a #Year17Year1 series of posts to reflect and work through it all.

I would love for you to comment throughout the series on any post that you relate to or ask questions if you don’t. My goal is to post twice a week through the summer so join me on this journey of reflection.