So, I taught another full period. Actually, over a full period- I am slowly taking over the science portion of the 4/5th period science math block, and yesterday, I taught over an hour of science.
Last time, I was disorganized, nervous, and clumsy. This time, I planned smart, instead of creating an ordered list of things to do, I made a list of things that would contribute to student learning, and that made all the difference. That, and not freaking out. The overall result was 100% better, and the teacher commented that I did really well.
It feels great.
Yesterday, in my Culture of Secondary Schools class, a number of recent graduates of the program came in and talked about their experience. They all had jobs, so that was very promising, the only one who wasn't a full time teacher was doing subbing, and was in the Army, so he had no interest in doing long term teaching at this point. The rest of them were all employed relatively locally, and all seemed to be doing what they wanted. What was weird was seeing a few dopplegangers of people in our current cohort in last year's- there were around 4 people who really reminded me of people in my cohort, including a guy with a lot of my mannerisms and similar appearance. That was a little spooky, but at the same time, rewarding to see what I might be in a year.
On the more somber side, they all outlined what is to come- Student teaching will leave you exhausted. Your first year of teaching will leave you half dead. But they also gave us a lot of advice- Seek out help. Collaboration is key. Self care, self care, self care. Be humble with parents. You can get a lot of free stuff from the community if you are a teacher. Don't give up, and if you work hard, your hard work will pay off. Don't make mountains out of molehills. Drink beer. Make a support network. Use the internet to your advantage.
It was great to meet some graduates, and see that, hey, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Right now is a really hard time to be a teacher, especially with the financial crisis Washington is facing, but they all seemed to be swimming, not drowning, and the overall experience was one of hope, something that I think a lot of our cohort has needed lately. I see a lot of bags under eyes, a lot of exhaustion, and in a few people, trace signs of depression. It's hard to witness that happening to people who I've been together with extensively since last summer, people who have become like family to me, but at the same time, I hope that they have a good support network. I think I've been pretty lucky in that respect, I have a lot of friends who cheer me on, and they have been really understanding. I don't really get to thank them all that much, but their support has been one of the big things keeping me from going off on the deep end.
In any case, I'm going on a field trip this Thursday with my class to test water purity. This should be really cool, and I'll post about it later. I really should get a camera, so I can actually document some of this.