Saturday, August 20, 2011

The First Day...

Hi all, I've of course been MIA as summer school started up this week. I did post the following for friends and know, a typical first day for a teacher. Would love to know how your first days have been going!

Let me walk you through what the first day looks like for a teacher...

All throughout the night: Wake up and think that it's time for me to get up to go to work. Go back to sleep at 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m., and 4:30 a.m., until...
5:00 a.m. Wake up exhausted but excited--all the prep from the previous weeks is going to be put into play today! Try to make myself look nice even though I showered last night so I could sleep in a little today. (N.B.* The day almost started off exactly as planned, apart from waking up earlier, which really isn't a terrible thing.)

5:25 a.m. Walk to my car...sit down...put the keys in my car...


Oh wait, I'm being overly dramatic. Something did happen. My car made this nice clicking sound. Yup, the sound a car that won't start makes.

5:30 a.m. Call my dad, if only because I know he is one of few people awake at this hour since it's 8:30 in Florida, and I just need someone to tell so I don't burst into tears (or burst into a string of swear words...which if you know me, swearing is a rarity, but in stressful situations (ex. when my car's tires basically broke last year, and then my bike's pedal fell off too), I do.

Mental note: Next year, take my car in for service BEFORE school starts. Just to be on the safe side.

5:35 a.m. Call a wonderful teacher from my school, and she and her husband pick me up to head to school.

6:15 a.m. Arrive at school with lots of stuff in my hands, unsure if I really grabbed everything I needed from my car. Hope that I really did get what I need. Prep my classroom, prep my classroom, stress.

7:00 a.m. Team Pow Wow--Getting ready for all our lovely kinders, the class of 2028, to arrive. Fortunately I do get to take two deep breaths at this point.

7:20 a.m. Have the teacher who taught in my room last year show me where BOTH light switches are. No joke. I couldn't find the second switch and was prepared to start class with half the room kind of in the dark (there was a little sun streaming through our windows at this point).

7:25 a.m. Students will be starting to arrive...I'm even MORE anxious!!!!!! Don't send them to me just yet! I'm not ready! Head down to help at breakfast, and I do love greeting all the wonderful students as they arrive. They are smiling and happy, which makes me feel less nervous about the potential for apocalyptic crying.

7:40 a.m. Realize I was supposed to be in my classroom five minutes ago. Head up hoping no families have arrived just yet so I can take a deep breath all by myself.

7:50 a.m. Summer School Begins!!!! At this point I am talking, moving, and sweating (no joke. My face is probably super red, and I am unaware of how much my body hurts, because I just keep moving.). I am smiling until my cheeks hurt and making everything super exciting, because it is! 

In my initial post I wrote: I am forgetting all my stress and just having fun with my students, teaching them our routines and procedures, singing songs, and enjoying learning!

...Well, that's what I want tomorrow to look like. Today I felt stressed...and then I reminded myself it's silly to be stressed. I still have hair. I don't have cancer. WIN. 

I try to use the whole cancer @ 19 thing as an advantage in my ability to have perspective. At the end of the day, I don't have a picc-line in my arm, I have all my hair on my head (even if it is a little darker, yes I'm still the teensiest bitter about my "dark" hair), and no one has offered me a wheelchair, because I seem so tired.

11:40 a.m. Drink half a diet coke. Sufficient lunch indeed.

1:45 p.m. Students are dismissed. I am still smiling. Greeting parents. Answering questions. Saying "I'll see you tomorrow!" to my wonderful students.

2:15 p.m. Exhaustion hits. Eat a peach, some fruit snacks, and finish my diet coke. Yum.

2:30 p.m. All staff meeting

3:30 p.m. I definitely laid down on the beanbag chair in our library and cried a little. Or a lot. I talked with some friends and family...and felt a little better about life.

5:00 p.m. Start to pack up to leave school. Realize, oh wait, yup, I forgot to pee all day. I told you it would happen.

6:30 p.m. Stop at Lakeshore. Purchase two books, Hands Are Not for Hitting and Words Are Not for Hurting, and the best part of course is that they're in English and Spanish.

7:00 p.m. Stop, jumpstart my car (woohoo!), drive over to my friend's place where I'll be spending the night.

7:30 p.m. Realize I'm kind of hungry. Fruit snacks + peach=not tiding me over. Also realize I have some text messages and phone calls to respond to from parents, but as I've been dealing with my car's sad state I have missed them. I return some phone calls. I leave a message for a parent in terribly broken Spanish, and I hope she understands me. I'm trying, I really am.

8:00 p.m. Call California Chicken Cafe, my comfort food in LA. One California Chicken salad with no carrots, please. Yum yum yum.

Somehow during the day, I also spoke with several friends, answered some emails, and now I'm ready to go to bed, hoping by no means to repeat today tomorrow but also hoping that I can keep the good things going and build on the things that weren't so great.

I realize this all seems very dramatic, and in some ways, it is. I definitely did not fail as a teacher today--and I think my tears after school are just a reflection of my investment in my families and their students from day 1 onward. I don't cry about many things, but man I cry about teaching. I am just so emotionally invested in my job, and I think it's probably one of my greatest strengths (but can also be a weakness for me) as a teacher.

So there you have it, the life of a teacher.


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