After teaching the same grades and the same subjects for the past four years I felt I was finally becoming a much better teacher. I still had terrible teaching days. And never did a day go by that I did not plan to make my lessons better for next year.
But now I am new again. New school, new subjects, new colleagues, new kids, new everything. Subjects I’ve never taught. And I feel pretty sucky again. I am back at the beginning. But it is worse now. Because when I was sucky before, I didn’t realize how sucky I was. But, after working so hard for the past four years to get better, and then actually having moments when I WAS better, I now know just how bad I am. And it is killing me. I am working non-stop to make it better. But there are not enough hours in the day. You don’t become better instantly just by knowing what it feels like and wanting it. It takes time. It takes time to truly know your subject and to curate your resources. It takes time to develop an amazing lesson, much less an amazing curriculum.
I have to develop the lessons because I CANNOT with a straight face go in and teach this example for histograms. I know it would make my life so much easier, but I CAN NOT DO IT. I mean, I doubt any of my students even know what an MP3 player IS.
Also, middle school students give you their souls on day 1. They are still little kids and they just trust you from the start. But I quickly remembered that high school students do not. You have to earn their trust. You have to prove to them that you do care about them and that you will work hard for them. Then they will trust you and work hard for you. To earn their trust I work hard on my lessons for them. I try to make it engaging so they will know that I care, I try to make it about them so they will be interested in the math. So I do this instead, but it takes time.
Thankfully, I have a wonderful community of people that have been there before, and are willing to help me. I don’t have to recreate the wheel. (How did people even TEACH before blogs and Twitter?!?) However, it still takes time finding all of these wheels and then tailoring them to my needs. But I can’t even do this for every lesson for every day, and it’s killing me. I need to sleep. I need to be a Mom. I hate being a perfectionist. Reality Bites.