This has been an extremely challenging year. It was fun but I also had to work a lot on what my friends say is "fine tuning." I had a full class of 15 wonderful students with very different personalities. My first year, I struggled with learning the curriculum and pretty much felt like I was thrown in the deep end and expected to know how to swim. Actually, as I write this, that is the perfect metaphor for my teaching career. Last year, I also joined the swim club and I had no idea how to swim. One of our awesome coaches helped me out with my stroke and other tips and I got better over time. That was exactly how it went in the classroom. I was panicked the first couple of months or maybe half the year. Kids are strange, especially tweens, so you know, being a first time teacher, it was all sorts of weird and frightening.
This year, with my swimming, my strokes were better but I was working on fine tuning them and also on endurance. The same goes with the classroom, I knew the curriculum but I now had to focus more on the class management and being able to stay energized during the school year. If you haven't taught or worked with kids, you mights not realize how tiring it really is. They has a lot of energy and it takes a lot of energy to be around them. It's fun, frustrating, inspiring, aggravating, hilarious, infuriating all at the same time. And trust me, you go through all of these emotions in a single day and I don't know about you, but after a day of yo-yo emotions, I'm pretty much spent. Managing a classroom has to be one of the biggest challenges of being a teacher. I watch great teachers and I am always amazed at how they do it. They still maintain this very cool atmosphere but they can also keep their students focused and on task. I will do that next year. I am saying "will" because it has to happen.
I know, this year, my class was pretty crazy. I am sure it was fun for some and frustrating for others. I tried and tried but I think, once a class has gone one way, it is very difficult to reel them in to another way. Next year will definitely be better.