Sunday, August 26, 2012

Take It Easy

The first week of school has come to an end!  It was a wonderful week, regardless of the fact that I was exhausted at the end of every day.  It was a good kind of tired--the kind of tired you are when you know that it was a productive day.  I was talking this afternoon with another teacher in my building who also started her second year this week, and we both agreed that it's nice not to be new.  There's a little more excitement and a little less anxiety in knowing that you've done the first day of school before.   However, there's still that newness and freshness that I love about a new school year.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous about my new group of students.  What if they don't get my jokes?  What if they come in and immediately commence in complete anarchy?  Of course, these are silly worries.  Whether or not they get my jokes at first, they're stuck with me, and if anarchy broke loose, I'd just go get the resource officer in the office.  Fortunately, neither one of these things happened this week.  I have an excellent group of students this year, and at least one person in each class period smiled/laughed at my lame, corny jokes.  I think the lesson I learned this week was to take it easy.

I guess there are plenty of things I could stress myself out about--new curriculum, more students, new core texts to teach, and the list goes on.... Last year, I would have let the stress win.  But I found this week that I had a newfound confidence in front of my students and with my coworkers.  As the teacher across the hall told me during hall duty between classes, "It's a natural inclination to stay tightly wound about everything, but I've found that it all goes more smoothly if I just loosen up."  I couldn't have described myself any better than she described herself.  Everybody has stressors; it's just that we all handle them differently, and they year I want to handle mine differently.  I want to take it easy.

They best part of this week was when another teacher showed me a couple of her get-to-know-you handouts from the first day of school.  Two of my former students wrote that I was their favorite teacher because I made learning fun.  Little validations like that remind me that more learning happens when I have fun with my kids.  So while I have several personal goals this year, like making grammar instruction more memorable and delving deeper into the analysis of core texts, my biggest goal is to disguise all those things as "fun."  And most importantly, I want to take it easy on myself.  I can already tell this year is going to be better than the last, and I want to slow down enough to savor the moments that make it special.  I'm so excited to see what small, sweet moments I find between now and May.

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