Last year the one thing everyone said was, "Don't worry, next year will be so much easier!" And to be honest I convinced myself that it was going to be easier because I had a great first year of teaching. I went in confident and ready to tackle the year.
I want to smack whoever it was that told me "this year would be easier." FALSE! It was not easier, if anything I felt like a first year teacher all over again. I was lost and unsure and constantly questioning myself. So clearly whoever coined that phrase has never taught 8th grade at the school/district I spent my second year of teaching.
I've been trying to think of one word that would wrap up the year nicely and I came up with: eye-opening.
Here are 4 reasons my second year of teaching was "eye-opening".
1. Classroom management is probably the most important aspect of teaching. Last year I thought I had fantastic classroom management. I had zero issues in my classroom and everything went so smoothly. This year I really should have stepped up my classroom management game. 8th graders need STRUCTURE. You've got to tell them exactly what you expect and what you want. If not....they will walk all over you.
2. Having a strong administration to back you up is key. There were a few moments this year when I was really struggling that I reached out to my admin team and I didn't feel supported.
3. The STAAR Us History test is HARD! This was incredibly eye-opening because I had no idea what to expect from the test itself. So I had no idea how much time I needed to spend on each topic (which there are a ton the state wants these 8th graders to know about history).
4. 8th graders are EMOTIONAL. And you need to be prepared to help them work through that emotion. I had so many girls come into class in tears and so many boys come into class pissed off. This year was eye-opening because I really learned that teachers are more than just teachers. Sometimes your these kids counselor, mentor, mother, and confidant.
I am super proud of myself for making it through the school year. Because honestly there were moments when I was ready to throw in the towel and quit. But I am not a quitter and I knew there were some students who really enjoyed me and my class. So I focused all my energy on teaching them and being there for them.
I have learned so much from this year not only about myself personally but about the teacher I want to be. And I'm going to take part of this summer to re-work some of my lessons and especially my classroom management strategies.
First day of 2014-2015 school year picture.
If only she had known then what I know now! LOL.
I know next year is going to be 100% different than this year. And I am so excited about that prospect. While this year the phrase, "Next year will be easier." didn't ring true, I am fairly confident that next year it will. I do think next year will be if not easier then at least smooth and less frustrating. I'll be teaching the same content in a better district.
SO here's to all that I learned as a 2nd year teacher and all that is to come as a 3rd year teacher. :)