Today a new sub marched into my classroom and immediately said "You have a hair on the back of your pants" and proceeded to remove it promptly before I could even respond. Uhh... thanks lady. I learned quickly that she was a little strange. She hung around to see what RM was all about but kept mostly to herself until I was getting the class lined up to leave. She walked up to me and said, “So, is this what you thought it would be?” I found myself stumbling around in my mind, trying to figure out how to answer that question. And honestly I am not even sure exactly what she meant by that question. I rambled on about something that I'm not even sure about now, but after she left it really made me start thinking. IS this what I thought it would be? In a word, no, “this” is not what I thought it would be. I mean, nothing ever is… right?
The most difficult thing that I've learned this year is that teaching isn't what it used to be. I feel like I have NO room for creativity whatsoever. I am simply there to make sure that things are run like they are "supposed" to be. Completely by the books. It seems like teachers are constantly walking on eggshells these days, which makes me really sad. I decided to become a teacher because of all of the wonderful memories that I have from elementary school. Sadly, most of my fondest memories of school would never be a possibility in today's public schools. I could go on and on about this subject but, alas, I should probably walk on a few more eggshells since this is a public blog. :) I do wonder sometimes if I want to do this again next year. I think that's a normal thought for first year teachers. Some weeks I'm filled with excitement when I think about my second year, and some weeks I spend all of my free time dreaming about what my next career will be. This is a personality flaw that has always caused annoyance during my job endeavors.
Regardless, many of the things that I've learned during these first few months of teaching are great things. When I first discovered that I would be working at the most "challenging" elementary school in Abilene, I really didn't know what to expect. It's always a little scary when you tell someone what school you're teaching at and they say, "Ohhhh... wow. That's... neat. You will be a great influence." Well, you know what? The kids at this school are so much more than I originally gave them credit for. They are a joy to be around and influence me daily to become a better person. They don't take anything for granted and are so grateful for the opportunity to learn. Sure, they occasionally say and do things that I never knew children under 10 years old were capable of, but it's hard to hold anything against them considering the home lives that many of them come from. Over the past few months they have become a huge part of my life. I dream about them every.single.night (which can be exhausting in some ways because I feel like I am at work all day AND all night). But when I really think about it, it's a blessing that even my subconscious is completely involved in what I am doing. These kids have absolutely no idea how much they have influenced me. No matter how I am feeling or how stressed out I am, they always find a way to brighten my day or make me feel better about myself.