Ok, so maybe the desk drawer is where I need to begin to clear out my muddled mind. As I keep mentioning I am at a new school. I actually have two classrooms here. The normal things are in my drawers like pens, pencils, paperclips, files, etc. However, I do not feel completely organized in any sense because I was thrown into this position at the last minute and before I could put my own stuff in the drawers, I had to clean out the last person’s. That is not to say that I was the most organized person to begin with. My disorganized drawers are a reflection of how I feel most days which is disorganized. Because I have to go up and down I am leaving papers all over the place and it has almost brought me to tears on some days because it sometimes feels like the papers are getting up and actually walking away and hiding themselves. Maybe if I start here I can gain a sense of accomplishment and ease. However, I haven’t really had too much time during the school day to do anything other than prepare for the next class because I have 4 preps. I have been at school every day AT LEAST 2 hours late calling parents. I guess I am not meeting my goal of not complaining. I envy you all who are totally paperless. I am working to get Google Classroom set up and I can also try one of the many other classroom websites.
@Teachthought One colleague who inspires me is a new colleague this year. I am having a really difficult transition in a new school and I find myself feeling really negative about it. A teacher in our department I know has a sick mother. He did not share this with me but another colleague mentioned he was visiting her before I started. He has been nothing but positive and helpful and I should think of his situation when I feel like giving up. It is not a terrible situation that I am in. It is just different from where I was, the kids are a little more difficult to control and I have to think positive and try my best.
Since I am only in my fourth year of teaching I haven’t had the opportunity to be a mentor yet, however I have had a couple of mentors. One was during my student teaching experience and the other was a colleague at the first school I worked at.
My mentor from my student teaching experience has actually stayed my mentor ever since. I always go to her with tough questions and she always gives me good advice.
I was her student teacher in 2011. We had in common that teaching was our second career. She is the same age as my mother and has a son the same age as me. Her birthday is right around my mom’s – both Virgos. (Just an interesting fact.) She was great. Right after my experience with her, I interviewed at some places and ended up getting a job offer right away in Virginia. I didn’t want to leave Pittsburgh, hadn’t planned on it at all, but I talked to my mentor and told her about the school, their immersion program, the technology initiative at the district, and she said she doesn’t know why I wouldn’t take it, sounded great and I could always come back to Pittsburgh in two years when she retired. So I went. It was a great experience. The school had very high standards but was also public, just outside of the city. I learned a lot there because there was actually a way that we had to do things in our department. What I learned there set me up for going to a school where there was more freedom to do what you want and no set way to do things. I am pretty indecisive so having a baseline to work from helped me to know how I would want to do things here.
I met with my mentor two winters ago the year she would retire and she advised me to start applying for her position. I did so from January through that school year. She was helpful by talking to the principal, the WL Director and everyone to tell them that I would be a great fit. I am so thankful for that because I may have never made it back to Pittsburgh if it weren’t for her. I actually got her exact position, preps, classroom, and some leftover materials. Some of my activities from student teaching were even left over from two years before in filing cabinets. It was amazing and I was very lucky to have her on my side routing for me. It was an easier transition than if I were going to a school that I didn’t already know.
Then, with the way things work this year over the summer I was furloughed and someone in the district who had more seniority than me and who’s position had been cut slid into my spot. I interviewed at some other districts, one that is one of the best in the state, but only for a one year long sub. I got an offer at a different school in my district. I knew this school was different and more difficult than where I student taught and taught last year. I consulted with my mentor and asked if I should wait to see about the year long sub in the amazing school district or take this position in a district that I am already a part of. I knew that I needed to stay but wanted her opinion. She thought so too, and I accepted it. So here I am. Not doing my work and blogging about my amazing mentor. I am confident that it was the right decision and who knows, I could end up back where I was last year or maybe by the end of this one, I won’t want to go back. I am sure that if I am faced with that decision I can ask my mentor what she thinks and she will let me know, even though she is retired. Long story short, a good mentor will always give you a good honest opinion that benefits you and your career whether it is about taking a position or about how to teach something.
I am too tired to write a whole post and no one seems to be reading them anyhow, so this will be short. What I love most about teaching Spanish is that we are able to be as creative as we like. I like not being tied to a book and being able to try anything and everything in order to see what fits best in the particular classroom setting.
This year I would like to:
1. strive to use the TL in the classroom in spite of how students complain they don’t understand, which will lead to…
2. more comprensible input and TPRS.
3. integrate technology as much as possible to make lessons more engaging since the school I am at now actually has the resources available.
4. Smile more, even when I don’t feel like it.
5. Complain less about all the work I am doing
6. Make positive phone calls home.