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.
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.