At the onset of this school year, I wrote a post entitled “Don’t Ever Get Comfortable”. When I wrote it, I was still reeling from the news that I’d had my teaching placement switched and that I would be teaching at the remedial level. I was extremely frustrated and upset, but ultimately it ended up being one of the best things that’s happened to me professionally since I moved to Oklahoma. I fell in love with my kids, we made tremendous gains, and I left them at the semester feeling closer in several months than I ever felt with my kids from year one. In the end, I was glad they switched me.
Well, it happened again.
After spending the last semester teaching a small group of low-performing 8th graders, I am moving back into what you might call a “regular ed” classroom. I will be teaching mainline English for a team of 7th grade students. I will go from working pretty much alone to having a grade level and content level team and will be responsible for teaching the entire breadth and depth of standards as opposed to intensive reading instruction.
Thankfully, I’m not upset about it. It’s definitely a shock to the system and I would much rather be back where I was last semester, but ultimately I now know that I have what it takes to teach any class in this school. Some will be easier than others, but I am confident that I will never again be as stressed and harried as I was last year during my inaugural teaching campaign.
That being said, the title of that previous blog entry was completely correct. Really, truly- don’t ever get comfortable. As I begin my fourth semester of teaching, I am prepping for my third subject under the tutelage of my third principal while beginning to coach my fourth sport. In the meantime, so many other things have changed as well.
For example, advisory has turned into independent reading time and has moved from before first hour to before fifth. We have new teachers, new principals, and new counselors every semester. I have moved from 7th grade to 8th grade and back to 7th. I’ve moved my classroom and am preparing to do it again (if they ever finish construction).
Like I said, I’m not upset. I just finished day one with my new group and it all went well. It just serves to reinforce the idea that I touched upon last time: in this business, in these schools, you can’t ever get comfortable. I’ve seen 25 year veterans have their subjects and rooms moved around, teachers not invited back from year to year, and principals come and go. I’ve taught for a year and a half and feel like I’ve seen the proverbial everything. It’s just the way things are here.
My mom teaches special ed in Texas where I’m from. She’s comfortable, extremely so. She knows what each day is going to be like, who her bosses are, and what the district expects from her consistently. All of her teacher friends have all taught the same things for years. Lufkin High School looks shockingly similar today to how it looked in 2008 when I graduated. Not so here.