Middle School Hero

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 17 2012

Living with intentionality

I’m a big proponent of making conscious decisions. I love being able to sit down, look at what’s ahead, and say “This is where I want to be. This is the direction I want to head in.” Unfortunately, this can be very difficult as a first year teacher. It’s very easy to become so focused on surviving, on getting through the next 45-minute class. In the process, you lose yourself. You make decisions that aren’t neccessarily aligned to your goals of achievement.

The beginning of my TFA experience is over. Induction is over. Institute is over. The first few weeks of school are over. Now, no matter what, those times are gone. I can’t go back and change any of it. The memories I’ve made and the strides my students have taken are cemented in time and there’s nothing I can do to affect that now.

So, am I where I want to be? Is this what I’ve wanted from my experience? The short answer is “yes”. I love teaching. I care so much about my kids. I have grown as a person and as a leader, and I have been challenged tremendously. But the longer answer is “well, not really.” I’m not where I want to be. I’m not the teacher I want to be. But I’m also not the writer I want to be, or the runner, or the friend. I knew this would be a challenge, but there are myriad ways where I count myself falling short. And in the classroom, that is to be expected. But what about in the rest of my life? Those are things I should have figured out by now, but don’t.

And to be honest, I haven’t spent much time thinking about it. I’ve been fighting and struggling to get through to the next day or the next class and haven’t taken the time in a while to step back and ask myself where I’m heading and where I should be right now. But recently, things have started to come together. My management has become more consistent and my teaching has improved, and I finally have enough energy at the end of the day to ask myself where I’m heading.

So I’m making conscious decisions again. I’m deciding how I want my class to look and I’m going through the means neccessary to enact my vision. I’m working towards becoming the person I want to be (whoever that is) inside the class and out. Recently, people have been asking me how its going. My answer is the same: It’s 8 steps forward, 7 steps backwards. It’s a lot of work and it’s discouraging at times, but I am moving forward.

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Chronicling teaching middle school English in OKC


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