A Journey to the Unexpected

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 02 2012

Relax.

Ironically, as the clock creeps towards midnight, the purpose of this post is to emphasize the importance of sleep.

My principal observed me yesterday afternoon, which always makes me ridiculously nervous–why, I don’t know, since you’d think with TFA and the State coming in I’d have gotten comfortable with this whole talking in front of people thing. I can’t say that I was just up tight because of that, or because of a rough class I’d had earlier in the day–the fact is, I’m always a little nervous, stressed out, and just plain up tight. Amazingly, the lesson went well, though. The feedback he gave me was stuff that I actually already had on the agenda to really work on this week (and in the future)–really important, but he really didn’t really flip out about it-just wanted to make sure that I kept working on strengthening assessment throughout the lesson. The one criticism he gave, though, as he closed his notebook up and gave me my first compliment of the year (sigh, made my day),was—RELAX! It’s ok to enjoy your students. It’s ok to laugh at them–or with them–when they’re being ridiculous. To be genuine with them. To let them know that you’re human, and you care about them on a human level, not just as a grade.

That’s not something I ever would have expected that I’D need to hear. I care about my students so much more as people than as grades. But the fact is, I’m hateful, boring, exhausted, and very, very up tight in class. For those who know me, “up tight” and “hateful” are not usually the most used adjectives to describe me (there are other words my students have used, but I won’t print those.) Last semester, I was so stressed out about what my classroom looked like, what I was supposed to be teaching, how awful my management was, trying to have high expectations, counting down the minutes till the end of the day, that I couldn’t imagine taking time to sleep, rest, read, laugh, etc… That’s gotta stop.

My students need me to be me–and a well rested version of me. The version of me that, like I did six months ago, actually looks forward to seeing my 120 sweet babies on Monday morning regardless of anything else that happens in the week. Good night :)

One Response

  1. jennny g

    Yeah, And what an insightful and helpful principal! You are going to be a super-wonderful 8th grade English teacher, but you’re already a super-wonderful young woman. Let it shine!

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