I have not died, nor have I quit teaching, although I do thank the several concerned readers who emailed me to check.
The beginning of this school year has been a whirlwind for me. I find that I am seeking more and more of a life outside the classroom. My own personal extracurriculars are beginning to take the place of attending the kid’s extracurriculars. I don’t know if that’s a healthy sign of balance, or a sign that I am burning out and should flee (flee!) the classroom.
Being in my 6th year of teaching is something of a surreal experience for me. I can’t really consider myself a “new” teacher anymore. So what am I? Am I a career teacher? Somehow I never thought that would be the case.
I remember back at Institute (in the great armpit of a city that is Houston) there was a CMA who had just finished teaching her 6th year. We were sitting in some interminable session or another talking about classroom management and she was trying to make the point that there is no quick fix solution to classroom problems (although man would a magic wand come in handy). She said, “I mean, this last year was my 6th year teaching and I had a class that drove me nuts. I tried everything I could think of, but they never really calmed down. I don’t know if I ever really got through to them. You just have to keep trying.” At the time I thought, “Oh my God, I don’t want to hear that! Tell me it will be okay! I know the first year will be bad, but tell me my second year will be full of students who bring me puppies and chant ‘Yes Ms. W.!’ while rainbows shoot out of their behinds. TELL ME!” Now, with a little more perspective and a whole lot less desperation, I think, “Yeah. That’s my 3rd block.”
I am worried that I have started to hit the end of the steep learning curve that is the first few years of teaching. That might sound like a good thing on the surface, but a plateau is not a happy place to be. The solution is, of course, to seek out new opportunities for professional development, push myself to try new things, yadda yadda. I am doing that that, but still, stiiiiiiill, the plateau seems to stretch out ahead of me.
I am happy.
I love my kids.
I like my job.
I find my job rewarding.
I enjoy my life.