I Am a Teacher

As many of you may know (at least if you’re connected to me on Twitter or Facebook), I recently resigned from my job as a high school English teacher. I can’t get into the details, but this has left me, for really the first time in my adult life, open to pursue anything I want. Sure, I have two degrees in education, but I also have a wide range of abilities and skills. I have over 6 years of experience in retail. I have a passion for Catholicism and the truths it contains. I have an ability to play drums pretty well. I have a love of books and growing connections in the publishing and bookselling worlds. I have a desire to analyze the world through a mathematical lens.

But ultimately, all of these fall short. These are things I have. These are things I can do. They’re not who I am.

Then, the other night, I had a dream. I barely remember it. But what I do remember is I was in front of a group of students. I was explaining the activity we were about to do. I corrected myself from saying “was” to “were” in a very intentional way. I was walking amongst them, making sure they all heard the instructions and weren’t just passing notes and then have to ask me questions later.

I was teaching.

And I woke up incredibly happy.

That’s when I realized: yes, it would be a lot of fun to work in the publishing industry. Yes, I enjoyed working retail and might be able to work my way up to a managerial position. Yes, I love Catholicism and could find a job somewhere in the Church. But these things are not who I am.

I am a teacher.

And I can’t wait to continue being who I am.

First Week

This week, I began my 7th year teaching. Not much compared to most bloggers and tweeters I follow, but longer than I’ve ever done anything in my life aside from be a learner (29 years and counting on that front). This is a weird position, as I’ve been at this school before, but as a high school math teacher, not a high school English teacher. So I’ve had to re-brand myself, in a way. Some first week highlights:

Linde checked out One for the Murphys and returned it the next day. Amanda is almost done with it (and by this posting, is probably finished).
Two students came in early this morning just to talk about the books they were reading.
Alexis gave me a book to return (my student computer for check-in and check-out isn’t really working) and immediately grabbed another book while I was processing the first one.
Every student today found at least one book they would read.
Tara noticed and commented on my DFTBA sign. She just may be a Nerdfighter.
The students have quickly picked up on my sarcastic sense of humor and have eased into a comfort level with it.
I called Alexis “Lauren” thrice, until Amanda told me I was wrong.
Cody and Austin have made me crack up almost as much as I’ve made them think. Which is a lot.

I think it’s going to be a good year đŸ™‚

What? Already?

As I made and posted my VEDA Day 33 video today (VEDA stands for Vlog Every Day in August…I’m redefining what it means to be August. I mean, if a Caesar can add days to the month, so can I. Right?), I realized that most people call today September 2. And September 3 is the first day of classes. In just under 12 hours, I will have high school seniors looking at me, wondering how we will be designing the yearbook with only 2 students in the class.

And later, I will have classes full of freshmen and juniors, ready to demonstrate to me that they did their summer reading, and concurrently provide a writing sample (yes, that means I’m giving a test on the first day back — a requirement for me this year. I still say it’s better than a day full of “here are the rules, make sure you don’t forget them, and just to make sure you don’t, I’ll post them in 8 different locations around the room, and then I’ll choose which ones to enforce once we realize how stupid some of them are, leading to confusion for you and [accurate] claims of unfairness.”).

So I guess that means I should be prepared, right?

Yet there are so many things I need to do! I don’t have a bulletin board done (it will be built by students throughout the year). I don’t have my classroom library in my Booksource (I will have students help with that as they check out books). I don’t have labels on all my classroom books (ditto). I don’t know which books I’ll teach for my novels class (I’m going to see what the students have read and what their interests are). I haven’t coordinated with Jillian on Sister Classroom things (umm…yeah, Jillian, I’ve dropped the ball on this one pretty badly).

The thing is, there’s always a lot to do. And a lot of it can’t be done until the students arrive. But it doesn’t matter. Here’s what matters:

  • My students and I are going to read a lot this year.
  • My students and I are going to write a lot this year.
  • My students are I are going to speak a lot this year.
  • My students and I are going to think a lot this year.
  • My students and I are going to share moments with each other that none of us have even thought of yet.
  • My students are going to be pretty amazed when we read Wonder and they find out that “Choose Kind” is the slogan of the book (they, on their own, chose “Choose Kindness” to be the slogan of the school last year).
  • My students and I are going to have a great year.

Ready (or not), here we come.