My life right now is very much similar to my car. My car has a rear tire with a nail in it -- not reparable except by full replacement of all four tires. It's had a nail in it for a while. Every morning, Chris and I wake up and he very sweetly pulls out the compressor and airs it up. Every evening after work, the air has slowly slipped out and needs just a little more air the next morning. The cycle repeats and will continue to repeat until the decision is made to spend a lot of money to get new tires. It's only a nagging problem, not quite big enough to warrant immediate attention but too big to simply ignore.
School started yesterday. As much as I'd like to write about how wonderful it is, how perfect the job is, how perfect my kids are, and how perfect I am for teaching them, I can't. I have to be honest because as I tried to think back to last year's first day and couldn't quite remember how it went, if it was this hard, I looked back in my blog and couldn't find much. I'm doing a favor to myself, one year from now, as I look for some comfort that things get better. Cheers to you, me+one year, you survived.
I'll start with the good.
I've got a job. I've got a great classroom. I've got a great school. I'm really liking my principal and vice principal and feel like I could go talk to them about anything at any time, which I seriously lacked the last two years. The staff seems nice -- although the crazy hugeness creates an incredible feeling of total isolation. I've got a great teammate (while there's FIVE first grades, only one other that teaches in English so I really consider her my sole teammate)-- she's really fun, easy to talk to, and an overall great and hillarious person. I've got 22 (and growing) really cute first graders. I'm sure once I have a second to get to know them and love them for their quirks, they'll be a fun class. I'll have funny stories eventually. I'm sure I will.
I'll end with the... well... nail in the tire part.
I have an incredibly challenging student. A student that has, in two short days, thrown me in to a deep pool of professional insecurity. The first day was the worst day I've had as a teacher. I didn't know what to do with this kid. There wasn't much background information given to me, and I felt totally lost and frustrated. This student was EVERYWHERE doing EVERYTHING. Halfway through the afternoon, in the middle of class, I almost cried. But didn't. Until I got home at least. As soon as school got out I ran to the special ed teachers and absorbed any piece of advise they could throw my way. I spent the morning taping off areas of the floor, moving tables, doing anything I could to make myself feel a little more prepared. A lot of it worked this morning. I actually got to teach a bit. The afternoon wasn't the best. I guess I should take what I can get. A morning is better than nothing.
Things will be okay eventually. I hope. I've had several staff members in and out of my classroom for various reasons and they all sing the same song: the "How do you not scream and go crazy?" song. Luckily I'm a relatively calm person. I've learned through having some other emotionally disabled kids in my room how to block out the screaming fits. I don't fall for the crocodile tears. I have sympathy for the mental, social, and emotional things that are swirling around this little person... but I've also seen how I can't be a friend to these kids. I have to be strong and stern and not fun. But I feel like I'm depriving the other 21 kids of the teacher I know I can be. A silver lining is going to shine through because of this. One day I'll say that this student taught me more than anyone else in my life. One day I'll be a better person and a better teacher because of this student.
Unfortunately though, One Day is far off, and right now all I have is Tomorrow. Just like our tire, Chris will tirelessly pump me up each morning, give me some hope, wipe my tears, force feed me giant M&Ms between sobs in the kitchen, and love me despite my deflated air at the end of the day. What would I do without him?
One more time: Cheers, me+one year, you survived.