Hectic, But Solid…Mostly

I just realized it’s been exactly 2 weeks since my last  post. So much for my routine…

Although, I have decided that me not having time to write isn’t exactly a bad thing. I’ve been very focused on work, more focused on work than I have been in years, and I can tell a difference in my lessons, in the atmosphere in my classroom, and already in my relationships with my kiddos.

I feel that invincible sensation of a First Year Teacher.

invincible2

I’m full of that enthusiasm that other teachers always told me would either wear out or wear me out.

For the first time in a very long time, that part of my life feels solid. I’ve finally  had my ideas and ways somewhat acknowledged, and, man is that a good feeling!

See, when I started teaching, I was the only person who taught my subject (or at least at the high school level), and so I had no idea if what I was doing was even any good! My kiddos scores were alright, but not up to my personal expectations, and so I had no idea if they were good scores or bad scores. I had no one to compare it with, and thus I was stuck listening to the opinions of others as to whether or not I was any good.

I would get good feedback from a handful of people as they came in for a single observation here or there, but the teachers who saw me regularly kept telling me things like, “if the kids like you, you’re too easy… you’re doing something wrong.”

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At my next school, I was constantly dismissed before I’d even had a chance to prove myself. People kept reiterating that the way I did things before wouldn’t work at this school because my kids were so very different. Before, I’d been in the country with so many fewer kids that there was no way to compare.

So before I could even prove that I knew what I was doing, I was told I was doing things wrong…

yourewrong

When I accepted my most recent position, I was told that I could do things my way as long as I was teaching the same skills and had the same assignments in the gradebook.

With my primary team, English III, I felt like I was doing that. We’d have a meeting, we’d discuss what was going to go on the lesson plan, I’d make my lessons based on my notes from the meetings, and then inevitably it would be wrong. The official lessons would come out at around 8 pm the Sunday before we were to teach them… yeah, the night before. And so I would be in panic mode, or else I’d have made my own lesson that wasn’t anything like the one that had been provided for us.

It put me in survival mode. In a big way.

survival

If I’d spent more time with the English II team, I probably would have been better able to follow that rule with them. I was getting the lessons without being any part of the conversation that led up to the creation of those lessons, and it meant that I really didn’t know what was going on, and the lesson plans weren’t as detailed as I would need in order to figure it out on my own… but I didn’t think to ask for help.

See, I was getting so much negative response from my own primary team, that I was afraid that if I had problems with my secondary team, they’d confirm my fear that I wasn’t any good at teaching.

Similar to the situation where I need confirmation that the other person sees value in me in my romantic relationships, I needed confirmation that I wasn’t a complete failure in my professional life as well.

I knew that I thought I was good. I knew the kids liked me and would tell me I was good, but I had no confirmation from my peers and coworkers that I was any good.

nogood

Plus, I didn’t know how to use the data to compare. I couldn’t compare my kiddos’ scores with those of my peers’ kiddos. It doesn’t help that I think the test is broken, so I don’t actually consider the data to be valid, but it is how the rest of the world will judge me.

And it’s how I’ve been judged at my new school.

It turns out my scores were better than I thought. I personally didn’t think my kids did that good, so I was, honestly, a little surprised that I was offered a position back this year. But now I’m learning that my scores were better than some of my more veteran teachers, though I haven’t been told who.

Then again, the question of “who” is irrelevant for what I needed.

I just needed the confirmation that I actually was good enough to do the thing I’ve wanted to do since the third grade.

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Now if only my living situation were better, things would be alright…

Tomorrow will be day 11 of cold showers because the woman who owns the house didn’t pay her gas bill. I haven’t seen or heard from her except in passing for the past two weeks or more, and yet she is all of a sudden all hot and ready for me to pay her rent for this upcoming month, though the gas is still not on yet. I haven’t decided if I want to stay.

Frankly, I don’t want to stay, but I’m not in a place financially to move out just yet. I may compromise and pay for half a month and then see if I can get out before then.

It’s not just the cold showers… I’m tired of her 12 year old treating me like a criminal and questioning my every move. She accused me of sneaking around because I was quiet when I left one day, and then she decided to ask me when I was going to buy groceries of my own…

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Took all of my energy not to call her a dirty name and tell her that it was none of her business because I did have groceries, but was eating out most of the time because her fat ass kept eating my food!

I would have immediately felt bad because she is just a kid, but seriously!

She and her mother keep telling me it’s the brother eating my stuff, but since the girls have been keeping their groceries at Grandma’s house, less of my food has gone missing. Then, when I went through and pointed out exactly what was mine in the fridge and freezer and pantry, it was still just two days later when they (the GIRLS) ate a third of a loaf of my expensive multi-grain bread, leaving me one whole slice and the butts.

breadbutt

My doctor has told me I have to change my diet, so I had bought groceries so that I could cook, healthy stuff, but also things I didn’t think they’d like because I was tired of them eating my food… And then the gas got shut off, so I haven’t been able to cook anything. Half a drawer of produce that went bad because I didn’t know what to do with it without cooking it…

Meanwhile, the last three nights in a row, they’ve woken me up (either the girls or the brother) at around midnight.

First of all, why are a 12 year old and a 9 year old up at midnight on a school night? Second of all, who the f*ck decides to deep clean the bathroom at midnight when you know the person whose room is next to the bathroom has to get up at or before 5 am?!?!?!

Needless to say, I’m freaking exhausted! I came home briefly to take a nap this afternoon and then went to my diner, trying to eat as cheaply as possible, but I just couldn’t do another microwave dinner (which ain’t exactly cheap!) or a salad, or peanut butter toast, or a dollar menu hamburger.

Thus, there was no #JustAddTea this evening, nor have there been many  any posts. I am truly sorry about that. I’ve missed my online friends and family.

Tentatively, we’ll be back on schedule by this time next week, fingers crossed…

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*Cover Art by Freya Bigg and can be found on DeviantArt.

 

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