A Look Back at Year One

Last year, as I spoke to my very own students for the very first time, I was terrified. As I stood in front of my very first class, a million questions ran through my head, including: What if they hate me? What if they don't listen to me? What if I can't teach them anything? What if we can't connect? What if I fail
And now, just under a year later, I can answer these with assurance: Some of them will hate me. Some of them won't listen to me. Some of them don't want to learn anything (but they will). Some of them won't connect with me. Sometimes I will fail. But, through all of that, will be success. And this, more than anything else I think, is what my first year has been about for me - learning again and again that each day is a new chance to make connections and build relationships and teach my students. Each day is a new chance to make success

Some days more than others, which was a harder lesson to learn, as I certainly had my fair share of failures. My biggest weakness was classroom management and I had some tough kids this year - students that made me cry (never in front of them!), students who told me to go to hell (and worse) and a student or two that walked out of the classroom on me. At times, not having my own classroom proved to be a challenge even for my uber organized self and running from room to room for 6 different classes was not without its challenges. And of course, teaching a world history course as an American history major did not come without a learning curve and many nights and weekends were spent teaching myself so that I could teach my students.

With each of these failures, however, I found success, and when I couldn't find success, I made it. I learned not to take everything a student says personally, I learned not to rise to meet their anger level (yelling at a student down the hallway is never productive) and I learned that a quick stop in the guidance office can prove to be a lot more helpful for a student than a trip to the dean. I learned that teaching means thinking on your feet and that there's nothing like a solid back-up plan to save the day. And I learned that the learning curve gave me the advantage of being in my students' shoes - ready for their questions and misconceptions - and more prepared than I would have been otherwise.

Photo Taken by Julio Chuy in January 2014 for a Northeastern CPS Project
In my pre-first day blog post last September, I wrote: 'I feel so blessed to be working at my dream job ... and to be embarking on this incredible journey. For the first time in my life, I am waking up to do something I love - and to do it as my career. [...] I never stopped believing in myself, and I never stopped believing that teaching is what I am meant to do.'

This rang true last year and today, as I'm spending the majority of my free time this summer planning and preparing for my second year, it rings true ever more so right this moment. My first year of teaching taught me many things, but it also confirmed that teaching is not just a job for me - it is truly my passion and it has never been more clear to me that I am meant to be in the classroom. Second year, here I come!



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