Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Times They Are A-Changin'

I just finished my second year of teaching, what a year it was. I started the year out excited because I thought things were really beginning to click. I was beginning to feel like my Chemistry course was really coming together, and I wanted to start to put as much focus into my other courses. Unfortunately, there were a lot of bumps that surfaced along the way. It soon became apparent that because of current economic conditions changes were likely to be made at school. I became quite worried about this because toward the end of the school year, my load of students drops a lot, simply because of scheduling issues. I also misunderstood how our school dealt with years of service in the district versus total years of service. Points-wise, I'm the low one on the totem pole, so I thought if someone was going to be cut from my department it would be me.

So, my anxiety level was quite high at this point, and if you know me well, you know that is well within the norm for me. I worked hard to give my best to my students, but it was really wearing on me. Students heard different things too, so I tried to ease their concerns as best as I could. Sometime at the beginning of March, my fears became realized. We were told that several cuts were likely to be made, including cutting my current position to half-time. I was stunned because I had never been approached about this. It just came out at the board meeting. Not only was I worried, but I had colleagues asking me if I was okay or had been "talked to." I contemplated talking to administration, but I just couldn't at that point, but four days later I was "talked to." I was told that because my position was being reduced, I would be transferred to the middle school to keep a full-time position. Unfortunately, the other teacher was out, but I would have a job. Please do not get me wrong, I am so thankful to have this job. I do not want to leave this school at this point, and I'm pretty tied to the area for quite some time.

However, I was still very upset. I had killed myself these last two years to make a great program for my students, and now I have to start over from scratch. I was looking forward to a little more breathing room. That's not to say that I would become static with my teaching, but it means that I had the groundwork established and could work with that and improve it as needed. I hate quitting and I hate not reaching my full potential with something. Besides this, I was (still am) mourning the loss of the connection with my students. For the most part, I had a great rapport with my students, and I love to work with them so much. I try to go their school events and support them however I can. It's hard for me to take in that I won't have them for the rest of high school. If you know me well, you know that I feel things very acutely. I'm the person that gets a little sad on the last day of school, cries at graduation, and even cry about people I don't even particularly care for. For a period of time, I shed more tears than I thought was possible and wasn't in the best head space.

Thankfully, I'm much better now. I have almost completely accepted the fact that I am going to be a middle school teacher for the next foreseeable future, but even as I was writing this, I got a bit (ok, a lot :) ) teared up. It's going to be a challenging year for me, I know. I'm currently trying to stop obsessing over all things I must do to prepare and get some real work done. Please rest assured, that I do actually enjoy this age group. I had most of my field training with 7th graders, and subbed a semester for an 8th grade class. I know that I will grow to enjoy this age group again; I just need to retrain my brain for them, in more ways than one.

So to work, work, work I go, embracing this change as much as I can................pausing from time to time to focus on that wedding thing I have going on too. :)

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