Home > Career, Choices, Goals, Teaching > Tears…and not from the kids

Tears…and not from the kids

This hasn’t been a great week.  I thought yesterday was bad, when I had to stop the math lesson after 10 minutes because the students’ behavior was out of control.  Then today it got worse, as I came into my classroom from the overwhelming Language Arts planning meeting to find a new child in my room.  Then it kept going downhill as I got so flustered by the new kid that I ruined the Writing Workshop routine and the students responded by being chaotic for an hour.  Then, still flustered, I tried to start my Reading lesson but ended up in a stand-off with last week’s new student over a hat – her third stand-off with a teacher that morning.  As the rest of the class watched, awestruck, the literacy specialist decided to march her down to the office.  The office tried to blame it on the student not knowing English, but the specialist was very clear: “she knows exactly what she’s doing.”

I had been looking forward to the kids being away for an hour at art, but instead of having a chance to calm down, I realized I had no idea what my afternoon math lesson would be and didn’t even know how to make a plan for it.  I slowly pulled myself together and managed a semblance of a plan and sat in the dark in my room, crying, while I drew 17 happy face and frowny face charts to use for sorting in groups of 10.  Then about 10 minutes before I had to pick my kids up from lunch I checked my email and saw that the guy I hit it off with this weekend – the first guy I’ve liked in over a year and a half – doesn’t think we should see each other again.  On a good day I might have felt disappointed.  Today, I literally sobbed in the corner of my classroom until it was time to pick the kids up from lunch.

I know I wasn’t crying just because of him, or even just because of a crappy week and a crappy morning.  I was crying (then and now) because it was the nth day of feeling completely overwhelmed at how unstoppable and inescapable my current life choices are.  For better or worse, this classroom is my life until the end of June.  No matter how I feel each day, I have to keep getting up and coming in.  No matter how often I feel completely overwhelmed and lost and like I’m failing the kids and overmatched as a teacher, I have to keep coming in.  Even if I become a kind of teacher I never wanted to be and never thought I’d become, I have to keep coming in.  It doesn’t stop.  The days don’t stop coming and the kids don’t stop talking, moving, and needing.

And I know I cry because as I struggle with everything that school is and does, I also struggle to figure out my non-school life.  I’m good at entertaining myself, but I had this glimpse of what’s possible on Saturday and, man, I want it.  I want smart, funny friends to hang out with and a guy who thinks I’m awesome.  I want to feel some sense of possibility for a future that includes a husband and a family.  I don’t want to keep waking up, for years of days of end, just getting through to tomorrow.

I knew that the first year of teaching would be hard, but I thought it would be hard like student teaching was hard – setting high standards for myself and my kids and doing what it took to meet them.  Instead, this is hard in so many ways I didn’t even know would exist.  I told myself during student teaching to hold on to that feeling of “rightness” that I felt when I was with the class.  I felt so often then that I was doing what I was born to do.  Right now though I just feel like I’m barely surviving.  Right now, this isn’t the work I want to be doing and it isn’t the life I want to be living.  I’m hopeful that something will shift and I start to feel better about my choices, but right now I just feel overwhelmed.

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  1. cloud strife 86
    September 30, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Times may be tough, and you may feel as though you’re lost and overwhelmed, but never give up! Believe in yourself!

  2. Lauren
    October 1, 2010 at 1:50 am

    hugs. you’ve been incredibly brave to set out on this new life path. i’m sorry it’s been harder than expected. but i know you’ll get through it. i wish you more energy, lots of good rest and renewed hope for each day.

  3. blackwatertown
    October 3, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    It sounds very difficult – teaching in less challenging circumstances is difficult – yours even more so. Best of luck. It will get better.
    http://www.blackwatertown.wordpress.com

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