Been a while since I've posted & figured I'd give an update on my life.
So I survived. I made it through my first year (well mid-year) of teaching 8th grade math. It's weird to think I went from being SO against teaching middle school to landing a job in 8th grade. CRAZY how things work out like that huh?! I'm not going to lie; it was very challenging at times especially given the circumstances. I came in mid-year, no experience with middle school (since I got an early childhood degree), AND my first year teaching.Oh and I must mention I had the lowest level of math in the whole 8th grade for general education. I am not kidding, there were days I had 3 meetings. I was always running somewhere! I had a lot of special education students that were in my co-taught classes, so I had to attend their IEP, RTI, SST, & 504 meetings. Wow I've learned more about that stuff than I probably ever could have in college. Oh and I did NOT know that the last week of school was so stressful for teachers, especially teachers who have to transition students to high school. So much paperwork, official records, running here & there, contacting parents, summer school, retention, CRCT scores, checklists, & the list goes on.
See what I mean when I say "very challenging"? So to make myself think more positively when things were tough, I would think that if I could survive this and do well, then I can definitely start off fresh in August and it'll be much easier.
There were times I was up at 1 AM grading/lesson planning, drove home crying of frustration, felt defeated because I didn't know what to do, & had to ask 1 million questions to all my coworkers. Luckily I had an AMAZING support team. I couldn't have asked to work with a better group of people. My mentor teacher was the gifted teacher across the hall and I am so glad she was so willing to always help me. Unfortunately and fortunately she got a position at a high school. I say unfortunately because I'll really miss her. She was a great teacher to rely on and had such a positive, helpful, and caring attitude. Fortunately though, her leaving probably opened up a position for me because I was kind of in a limbo point for a bit. Contracts were being sent out, but I got the talk of "we want to keep you, but it's all about numbers". So I wasn't sure if I'd even have a job after July. Luckily I got a contract and I will be teaching 8th grade math again next school year. This time the level will be mixed kind of like a college prep high school course. So, I'm really excited because now I can have more time to think about how I want my classroom to be run and look, and not have to rush with lesson plans, and just start on a clean slate. I have a lot of confidence in myself when it comes to this because I know I'll work hard. My students this year seemed to like me for the most part, but behavior was typically bad. This was extremely frustrating to me because I just wanted to teach! However, I had some great students who worked really hard and appreciated me. I loved getting e-mails from parents saying "thank you for helping her do better in math" or students coming up to me saying, "those games help me understand math, we should do more". It made me so happy to know I made a small difference. My students were overall really funny though. I guess having a 23 year old teacher made them think I was "one of them" so they would always talk music, sports, pop culture, & life with me. It was pretty interesting I must say!
So the wonderful thing that I am extra thankful about is...SUMMER VACATION! I still get a regular paycheck as usual and basically 2 months off. It's a great feeling. I was going to work my old preschool job for summer camp if they had any positions just for extra money, but it turns out they don't have anything currently. This is fine with me, because it gives me time to relax, hang at the pool, hang with friends, go out, rest, think, plan stuff for the next school year, etc. For the past 5 months I've felt like everyday was on rush/hurry mode, so it's nice to step back from that and not have to be like, "ok, what's next?" every 10 minutes.
I've had a lot of great things occur at the end of 2012 and so far in 2013. It was like a series of FORTUNATE events! It's still unbelievable to me actually. I got a brand new car with my own money in February which I absolutely LOVE! I recently got pre-approved for a loan so I can hopefully buy a town home/small house this summer. Going to PCB, Florida in 1 week with some great and hilarious friends. I've done a lot of fun and new things. I've stuck to a workout plan and I've pushed myself more than I set out to do originally, but I see/feel results and it's very motivating.
Of course there's moments where I still over think things and feel down, but I'm usually okay once I snap out of those moments. I just have to realize that I can always rely on myself at the end of the day. People let you down, situations let you down, the world lets you down. However, if I know that at the end of the day I put forth my effort and got results to achieve what I wanted, then everything will be fine. I can look past all the other crap that sometimes fills my head and brings me down. I'm 23 and I feel pretty accomplished so far, but I'm not done of course. My ultimate goal is to be pretty much completely dependent upon myself, so I'm working hard to get to that place soon! :)