Monday, February 1, 2010

Safe/Celebrating

(for Melissa, who, at this very moment, is in a Kindergarten classroom student teaching)


I've forgotten what it is like, that first year of teaching, first year in "the big city" (that, I know, isn't all that big). I've forgotten what it is to rush that way, to create lesson plans the day before teaching them and make copies during the first five minutes of class while they read or write or just-do-something to give me a minute to finish preparing, to get my head on straight, to read what we're reading before they do.

Yeah, the first year (or more) in your own classroom is like that. Exhausting and panicked. Riddled with an unceasing sense of failure.

The first, second, even third year, you question whether or not you're really cut out for it.

And then you survive it. You get better. You know what is coming up next. No shooting from the hip, you've been here before. Once, twice, three times.

Last night I dreamed about moving classrooms--again. But this time I knew it wouldn't happen--somewhere in the conscious part of my brain I knew I was settled. Safe. This year, in my perfect classroom with the tables--not desks--like I wanted, the view of the western mountains and the city and the now-naked trees, it felt permanent. I threw a rug down in my office in mid-August. I brought a better chair from home. I put my college degree on the bookshelf. I brought boxes of my life from home into school--things I wanted to have here.

I'm turning 29 next month and have finally realized that this, here as I sit at my desk, this is my life. I've fully succumbed--given myself over to it. It was gradual, but I've eased into this place where I'm neither rookie nor novice. I started first period today and acknowledged it: I know exactly what I am doing.

4 comments:

Stephanie said...

Bravo, and well done! To both of you. I'm proud to know such beautiful and accomplished women.

Willis Family said...

Ok, honestly reading this made feel old (maybe because I turn 29 just ahead of you)...when did we become the grownups?

Miss Melissa Bee said...

Dear Heart! Thank you for the dedication. I needed a lift today and seeing that really helped. Today was a failure day--my first and I'm sure not my last. I left thinking, "Oh man, what have I gotten my self into? I don't think I can do this." I am glad it gets easier...even if the easy is four years away. Anyway, I appreciate the props. It made me feel like I can make it...

Libby said...

I should have my cutest mom read this. Or maybe it would make her more nervous for her first teaching job (she hasn't been hired just yet).

It also makes me want to turn that silly old English degree of mine into a teaching degree. Maybe someday...