The Hardest Job in the World

As I finish my first week of school as a classroom teacher, I realized something. This is the hardest job in the world. Now, I heard this repeated to me for four years of college. But nothing could have prepared me for this week.

Let me make this very clear up front: I love my kids and I love my job. (Please remember that while you read this post).
The first day of school was more of a disaster than not. I felt as though I had no control over my children. I felt lost and really alone while standing in front of 20 little faces. I could feel my heart break as I realized that this wasn't going to be easy.  Just because you love something, doesn't mean that it is easy.
After the first day, I sat down and re-planned my week. I organized myself according to my students' behaviors and what I now expected of them.  I rearranged the room (not for the last time this week) and I had a solid plan.
Then Tuesday happened. I lost control early in the day and it stayed gone. I felt helpless and lost all over again. I tried to be positive going into Wednesday but it was getting progressively harder. I actually crawled back into bed on Wednesday morning after I was ready for my day. I had never felt so defeated in my life. Wednesday was a rough day. I felt like I was losing what little control I had left. So I reorganized myself and tried to keep our structure the same as Tuesday. If nothing else, kids crave structure. Yea, I've heard that before--so I went for it.
Thursday was by far the worst day of the week. I went in with a plan, a plan that didn't work. A plan that was not implemented correctly.  A plan that failed me because I failed to use it correctly. Thursday is my day without a resource (or special, depending on where you're from--art, music, computers, P.E., library).  Thursday is a long day. I need a break from their beautiful faces and they need a break from mine.
Thursday afternoon, I rearranged my whole room.  I tore down bulletin boards, I moved the desk arrangements, I put my reading table on the opposite side of the room. I changed the scenery and I changed my plans.
Thursday night, I cried. I cried when I got home from school. I re-planned my Friday. I cried again. I talked to my mom and I cried. I talked to a friend and I cried.
I couldn't sleep much Thursday night. So I told myself that I had a solid plan and I needed to implement it to the best of my ability. I was told that I should be proud of myself because I was a good teacher and that it would come together eventually. I was told that I needed to be positive and think good thoughts.
So I tired it. I woke up Friday morning and told myself, "It is going to be a good day." And I repeated it 87 times before I even left the house. Spoiler alert: Friday was a better day than Thursday. I changed our schedule and our plans, which confused my students at first. But they figured it out. They know that I want them to do well and to succeed. I can see it on their faces. They want to impress anyone who will watch them.  They crave attention.  I am going to have to learn to balance that positive attention with the correcting attention.
My students are babies and I need to remind myself of that. I need to remember that each child learns differently and on his/her own level. I need to remember that I am only one person and this is only the first week. They will begin to understand and they will start to follow procedures more effectively.

Let me repeat this: I love my kids. I truly enjoy seeing their faces everyday. It breaks my heart when I have to yell or redirect one of them and they get upset. It breaks my heart even more to see a child who doesn't care. I have to remember that these children may not care because no one has told them that it is important to do so. I love my kids and I intend to show them that everyday. But I also intend to have them know that I am their teacher and that there are rules that need to be followed.

So here's to all the teachers, the new ones and the old ones.  Here's to a new year and new beginnings.
Now I'm off to take a serious nap and then plan my three-day weekend.


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