The clock has struck midnight, the ball has dropped…and it’s time to return to school.
(The parents might be ready, but most teachers are not.)
I’m still exhausted. Looking at my calendar for this month makes me more exhausted. And this is before other commitments get added in, as they always do–school meetings, union meetings, special events, appointments for family members. And God forbid I get sick…*knocks on wood*.
Somewhere in all of that is my actual job. Teaching a class of young children, molding minds, inspiring greatness…
At least, that’s what I’d like to think. There are obstacles. The aforementioned exhaustion. The grieving. The busyness of a school day (I swear to you I make at least 200 split-second decisions before nine o’clock in the morning). The fire drill, the lockdown drill, the assembly, the new kid who magically appears at the door as all of the children come bustling in. The kid who hits, the kid who is sleeping in the classroom because it’s a safe place, the kid who should have stayed home and is now throwing up in the middle of the room.
I’m pretty sure I just depressed myself with all of that.
So. Since last January I wrote my first post of the year with wide-eyed optimism (at least, for me), I’m going to try that again…before I go back to school and am forced to remember all of the mandates and see all of the paperwork and hear someone’s latest greatest idea that will save education (but not really).
I don’t want any New Year’s resolutions. I want badass resolutions.
1. I will see each child as the person they are, not as a test score or a reading level. I will focus on what makes their eyes light up, what they create, what they want to show me and tell me about.
2. I will be an advocate for play. I will not withhold recess for misbehaving. Those are the kids who need recess the most.
3. I will not sacrifice reading to my class. I will read fiction and nonfiction. I will read frequently and voraciously. We will beat last year’s number.
4. I will slow down. I will give my kids age-appropriate blocks of time to work, not “I know you just got started, but now it’s time to ____.” (This one will be difficult because of the schedule I’ve been given, but I will work to make it better.)
5. I will do all of these things to my own detriment. I will recognize that my methods of teaching are likely not going to get me the best observation scores, which down the line could affect my ability to remain employed as a teacher. I will do my best to remember I’m a good teacher and try to remember that I’m more than a score. (This will be extremely difficult. It always is.)
6. I will reach out–to my BATs, to my union, to the teacher down the hall. I will be involved. I will participate in meetings and Twitter storms, conferences and rallies, caucuses and Representative Assemblies. I will work to affect change in my city, state, and nation. I will work so that future teachers do not feel the way I feel now.
7. I will take care of me. I’m not going to be the teacher still at school at ten o’clock at night. I’ve been that teacher before, and it’s exhausting. Some of us may laud that kind of teacher, but it’s unsustainable at best and damaging to your health at worst. I physically can’t sustain that, and more importantly, I’m not going to try.
There are going to be many dates in the future when I read this and wonder what on earth I was thinking. Because all of these are challenging in their own way. Together….together this is too much. It is everything. How well I do #1-7 determines the fate of the next two.
8. I will have a job teaching in my building next school year.
9. I will WANT to have a teaching job in my building (or any building) next school year. I will not become a statistic of teachers who leave the profession.
What are your badass resolutions?