It definitely has been a crazy year for me, with plenty of ups and downs. There were some moments where I had my doubts, but I survived. Even my toughest class taught me a lot this year. Yes, students got under my skin. Yes, there were times I wanted to throw in the towel. Yes, I did leave school feeling defeated on more than one occasion. There were moments like the one below that makes it all worthwhile.
Long story short, I was extremely upset about something that had happened at school, I spent lunch on the phone with my mom crying. Some of my students saw me upset and left me these notes on my chalkboard. These moments made my first year absolutely worth it.
Looking back, I definitely would have done many things differently, but I've heard that from a lot of first year teachers. Your first year teaching is, quite literally, baptism by fire. The second you get in the classroom on your own, you quickly learn that a lot of things you learned in your college classes really aren't applicable (one of my favorite lines when a student does or says something particularly outrageous is, "They didn't teach me how to handle that in college..."). During your internship, you can deflect any difficult situations to your mentor teacher, or at least turn to them for guidance. Your first year, however, you are that teacher, and you are the soul source of guidance and the law in the classroom. You don't have someone else to turn to for help, at least not at that exact moment. Yes, I turned to many teammate and coworkers for help, but it was often after the fact. It's stressful and terrifying.
It's funny, I was terrified that I would be a nervous wreck on my first day of school. I'd heard stories of veteran teachers who still got nervous on their first day of school. Ironically, I slept like a baby the night before and wasn't nervous at all.
I don't mean to ramble. I survived the year, and that's all that matters. I've filled my summer up with a wide variety of classes to prepare myself for next year. Like I said, even my more difficult students made me a better teacher. They're the ones who motivated me to take these classes to learn how to handle difficult classroom situations. School just ended the day before yesterday, and don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled for summer, but I'm also excited for next year. Everyone says the second year is much easier, and the possibilities are endless.