Thursday, June 5, 2014

My First Year

Tomorrow is the last day of school!! It is hard to believe that I am just a 1/2 day away from completing my first year of teaching!

How was it? Well....

- It was challenging. Our team leader went on maternity leave in March. I was really afraid that without her being there I would not know what to do or that I would try to rely more on the other teachers instead of rising to the challenge. Thankfully, I became more confident and stepped up to the plate. I am really thankful to have had that happen. It helped me gain confidence in myself and to see my true ability in teaching.  I had times that I felt overwhelmed, but it was always me that did it to myself. Once I calmed down and looked at the issue in a different light, I knew what I needed to do. Even though I have a hard time with it sometimes, God always reminded me to trust in Him and that everything will turn out just fine. 

- It was a learning experience. 
  • I have learned more about myself through the process of my first year. 
    • I need to have lesson plans. There were a few days that we had to deviate off the path or there were a couple of days that I did not have plans for. I still taught. I knew what I wanted to teach and I was prepared with papers. However having that plan in front of me helps me feel so much more "with it". 
    • I have learned that I am an organizer and even more a planner than I thought I was. At the end of this year, I learned that I have to move classrooms and I started planning immediately. I started planning things like: Where is my table going to go, what is going to be on the bookshelf, how are my cabinets going to be organized, etc. In order to try out the layout of my room for next year, I moved my group table in my current room to see if I would like it. (I do! Yeah for solving that!) I like to be prepared when I can.
  • I learned even more that students need more than just curriculum
    • When it comes to the students it is important to teach them more than just the material. This may seem like a no brainer to some and I knew that going in, but everyday I could better understand what they needed to know. Some needed to know that they can be successful, they are important and smart; others that it is okay to take risks and try something new. One thing I heard in an in-service I was in, was a story about a super strict teacher. She did not let her students get away with much, if anything. However, each morning she would start off by greeting her students at the door, she would give them a hug and say that she loved them and told them that they are important. This put things into perspective. In some children's life the only person telling them that they are smart/important/worth-it could be their teacher. So I decided to be that influence for my students, wither they got that at home or not. 
    • My classroom goal this year was for the students to know they are loved, important, and smart. That if they try their best, that is what success is.  
  • I learned that no training, college class, or book can truly prepare you for teaching. Don't get me can get GREAT advice from all of those! However, the best teacher is experience. I learned things this year that I want to implement next year and I also learned what worked or did not work. I already have an idea about next year and what I want to get better at. 
  • Most of all, I learned how much a teacher can love her students. My babies are going to middle school next year. I went to their award ceremony this morning and couldn't stop smiling. I noticed one of my students opening the award packet.She pulled out the award I put in there for her. She smiled so big and showed all the students around her. I am proud of them for what they have taught me and how they have grown.
I enjoyed my first year. Looking back when I first started my job, people would ask me "How do you like it". I would smile and say "I like it" even though inside I was still adjusting to all the new. It's kind of how I would envision  new parents. Among the sleep deprivation, learning how to feed and change the baby, and adjusting to the new schedule, they are happy even if in that moment they feel like they are swimming in the sea inexperience. Once the newness wears off and they get the hang of things they can fully see how great a blessing it is. That's how I felt.  Now I can look back at the year and say that God has blessed me so much with this job! I love the school, the people I work with and the kids I teach. Overall it has been an amazing first year!

I am so blessed

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