Thursday, September 22, 2011

One of Those Days…

This is a bit of a vent post.  Last year I felt like I had a really great year professionally and felt like I grew a lot.  I tried new lessons and had established a classroom that worked really well.  My students worked well together and learned a lot.  It was the first time I knew that I was the one making the impact and could see the results of what I was trying.  I was focused and had momentum with my instruction.  I was SO positive about the year and going into the next year.

This year, a whole 13 days in, I just feel out of focus.  For the first time in 6 years of teaching first grade, last year was the first year I was the only adult in my classroom, barring some minimal services.  Don’t get me wrong, I love working with students who need my support the most, after all I have degrees in literacy and special education.  I think I do good work in those positions.  And I have learned SO much from some wonderful support persons and teammates.  But goodness, my year last year made me realize how crazy a classroom can get when you are teaming with a gazillion adults.  I feel like I am a plate spinner and have to keep those plates spinning. There is always at least 1 adult and at times 3-4 in my room when I am teaching. I am feeling like I am on stage performing and am feeling lacking.  It is amazing how, after building my self-confidence for a year, I feel like I am starting all over again. 

My schedule has been determined, literally, by my service providers.  I have no flexibility over any timing – from snack to when I have recess, it is all locked in tight.  I almost cried when I had yet another person show up to schedule social skills lessons – a new thing this year.  I know I could not do the job on my own that I can do with all of these wonderful folks to help, but my ability to feel like I am teaching for my students is seriously compromised because of what all the adults need to do. 

My lessons are orchestrated for the support people coming in.  I remember one year when I actually did writing 3 separate times (formal instruction, writing workshop, and journals) one day a week to accommodate OT, Speech, and a special education teacher.  Another year, I had 4 teachers – one at each table, during my writing time.  Why do we even need the general education teacher in the room at that point?  The planning is never enough.  I can’t possibly plan enough with every support person to give them a clear picture of exactly what I am doing in my classroom.  Sometimes you just hope for the best.

I am sitting here thinking that I am exhausted.  I am not sleeping for the stress on my shoulders.  My mind is spinning because I constantly have someone (meaning an adult someone) asking a question, making a suggestion, or telling me something that I really need to know (I have literally been carrying around a clipboard to write on because my brain is full – please don’t stop me in the hallway or track me down during my lunch to tell me that I have a phone message).  My creativity is a big fat zero because I can’t even wrap my mind around my day, let alone create wonderful and exciting learning experiences. I need to spend so much more time in my room and planning, but I am trying to have a life again.  Ten years of living more for my job than myself has made me realize that I need to find myself outside of teaching again.

So here I am wondering how am I going to make it through this year and do the best I can for all of my students? How can I love what I am doing? How can I find my creativity again?  How can I make our days exciting and spark my students’ love for learning? I’m sure it will all work out in time.  Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday! Next week is a new week and I can try all over again.

1 comment:

  1. I really feel for you. It's hard having other adults in the room all day. Your description of feeling like a "plate spinner" is very apt. Do you have a good relationship with your principal? Maybe you need to talk to him/her and find a way to make this work. Personally, I don't think there should ever be more than 2 adults in the class at once because then the focus is shifted towards the adults instead of the children. Sorry this isn't more helpful. Maybe there are some bloggers out there with more solid advice. Take care.