Teachers will understand this. There are a lot of feelings associated with teaching.
Then there are the first day of school Pinterest photos showing the utopia of teaching.
What I miss though is the day to day because I really *like* teaching.
I avoided this career. I come from a family of teachers. I mean EVERYONE is a teacher (mom, 3 aunts, grandmother, multiple cousins of all generations, you get the picture). My dad was planning on being a teacher when he was in university. I wanted to be *different.* Go figure, right? I got 2 masters degrees before I decided to teach (and a third while going back to get certified.) I can’t say exactly what pushed me into teaching, but here I am. I wouldn’t do anything different.
Back to the feelings though. I miss being excited to walk into a classroom. I miss watching kids work together on things and seeing their faces when they “get it.” I miss (and this is selfish) seeing a kid’s face light up when they see me in the morning. I miss the challenge of figuring out new ways of explaining things and looking for problem spots.
I have a confession though. The past couple of years, I’ve been in a doldrums teaching-wise. Teaching is much more than just being in front of the class and a lot of the other responsibilities have gotten in the way. I keep in touch with counselors (all 10 of them) to make sure no new kids have enrolled. I check on kids to make sure they are adjusting and passing their classes. Which involves talking to their teachers (all 92 of them at 3 different buildings). I talk to students and make sure they feel comfortable with me both speaking in English and asking for help. Yet, I have struggled with WHAT to teach in an effort to differentiate for both beginning ELLs and kids who could be acing AP classes at the same time. So I have had more thrown together, canned lessons. More things that only last a few days at a time then we are on to something new. More flops. Fewer themed lessons with overarching goals. Fewer things that students get behind. My curriculum comes from me and students can stay with me up to 4 years, so I can’t recycle things very often. That is a lot of lessons.
I used to bounce into class with a smile on my face. Passionate. Kids would groan that I was maybe a bit too enthusiastic. My focus was entirely on them for the 94 minutes.
Recently there is a lot more “hold on” and “let me finish this.” More “Well this lesson can wait, XX class has a project.” Maybe a bit too much sarcasm. (which FYI is a dirty word in teaching)
This is my 13th year to teach. One reason I applied for the Fulbright was I had an itch. An itch to go somewhere. An itch to do something *different.* I wanted to be a better teacher. I think I found it here.
I miss teaching now. I’m ready. The last bell rang 8 weeks ago (metaphorically) and now it is time to go back. I am ready to see the shining faces of my students and teach them. Not just tutor them and stress about their grades, but document progress. There may be a bit of a culture shock in room 147 (and room 207 – because, you know, the life of a traveling teacher). There will be a bit more passion. A bit more focus. A bit more…
Yalla. Let’s go.