I did it! I finished my first semester teaching!
I know its been a while since I’ve written anything for this blog, but I wanted to take a moment to reflect on this year of teaching and how I’ve changed because of it. It’s crazy to realize that six months have blown past and I’m not even sure how I got here. So much has changed. I started this semester hesitant and completely unsure if I would stay in teaching. I’ve now just re-signed my contract and I can’t even say how much I’m looking forward to next year. New Tech is special, and while I’m not there yet, I feel like I am well on my way to finding my home at this school.
My students are amazing, and I’ve created relationships with students who I’ve only been teaching since January. I can honestly say that I will miss them over the summer. I’ve gotten the chance to teach Juniors that I know will go on to do great things. Being an advocate for my students is why I teach. As much as I love math, students understanding and even catching my passion for math can never compare to being there for an underprivileged student. I got into this job for the people.
As I said, I feel like I’m finally finding a home in teaching. It’s not just my students and the culture they create, it’s also the other teachers and the culture we create. I student taught at a school where the math department didn’t even eat lunch together, let alone go out together. My school is different. Not only do I have an incredible support system, I also have a good community that I want to know more and continue to see outside of work. Community is so important and I feel lucky to have found a school that agrees.
This year is finished and there are things that I worry about for next year. My school is undergoing a restructuring, so instead of just teaching geometry for four periods and having one period off, I’ll be teaching five periods of geometry, one period of AP Computer Science Principles, and one period off. This year, I struggled to keep my head above water while managing prep for one class. Next year I’ll be teaching two preps, and I’ll have a significantly shorter conference period. One thing that I’m doing to combat this is starting my curriculum planning over the summer. A new classroom software is rolling out at the start of this next year and I’m already in the teacher demo, so I’ll be trying to build my course now, instead of as I get to topics during the semester. Hopefully I’ll be able to balance summer professional development, prepping for next year, and taking time for myself.
As my school is restructuring, we’re also losing a significant amount of teachers. Now, I think it’s a good thing that the teachers who don’t want to be here are leaving, but I also worry about the level of support going down. My department chair has accepted a job at another school in the area, and the new department chair has taught for a semester longer than I have. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for my new department to be young teachers who are happy to be there and implementing research driven stratagies, but both of our instructional coaches are leaving as well. I think this leaves us at a scary place. While yes, we can absolutely take next year by the horns and handle it, we have to be careful that we are still there for one another, observing each others classrooms and suggesting strategies.
There is more change that I could talk about, but I want to keep these short so I can hopefully stay in the groove of writing one post a week this summer. This semester has been trying at times, but I’ll miss it all summer long. Next year will have its own difficulties, but I believe in my people and our ability to rise to the challenges, whatever they may be.
Thanks again for reading! I’ll be writing about conferences a lot this summer so don’t forget to subscribe if you’re the least bit curious as to what a first year teacher thinks of all these conferences.