Friday, August 18, 2006

Shopping Soothes the Soul of a Freaked out 1st Year Teacher!

If you’ve noticed I’ve been away for a while, it doesn’t mean I’ve given up on teaching, or thinking about teaching, or writing about teaching. I have been on a mental vacation, trying not to overload my head with worries about getting in the classroom; visiting some family, cooking some meals.

The problem is that I’m facing a very large change in my life, and as much as I would like to relax, I’m getting anxious. I’ve been out of the classroom for a few weeks now, and while I was pretty confident while I had the kids in front of me…I am now making mountains out of mole hills. It doesn’t help that I just watched the movie 187 where Samuel L. Jackson plays a teacher who gets attacked in his Brooklyn school for flunking a student. The students then go on to trash the class room, kill a pet dog, and eventually the film ends in death. Cheerful. There’s this great, positive part where the teachers are chatting about another teacher who was 7 months pregnant and pinned down by a bunch of students…she ended up kicking a student to get free and was being sued for assault.

So I’m worried about what I’m going to actually be teaching. How am I going to teach it? What if the students don’t even come into my class? What if they find out where I live? Should I be afraid to fail a student? How do I get these kids to respect a young, white, female teacher? What if I get attacked? How do I not get confrontational if a student gets in my face? What if I can’t teach these kids anything?

And I know it’s all about structure, procedure, firmness and kindness…what about when all of that fails?

Ok, so I had a good case of the new-teacher-psyching-myself-out-blues. So, I did what any person would do in my case: SHOPPING! Staples had an amazing sale where I picked up Crayola crayons for $.15 a box, and 10 piece marker sets for $.99…AMAZING! And these great mini gel pens 24 for $5.00! I feel more at peace with facing a class of students because I’m a little more prepared. Even if it’s just school supplies, it’s one more step in the right direction…and that makes a bit less freaked out.

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