The Graduation Rollercoaster

I received my cap and gown in the mail last week and I could not have been happier. After all my hard work in school, graduation is almost here! A few days later I received my honor cords and tassel pin from NSLS and I was beaming. After all these years, here I am, about to graduate with my Masters with honors. My husband has been nothing but proud of me throughout this whole process and he tells anyone and everyone that I have a 4.0 GPA, that I truly enjoy what I am doing, and that I am going to be an amazing teacher. Honestly, I have never been more excited than right now.

And yet…..

I think I’ve been feeling a little down for the last week or two. I have applied to a few jobs, which admittedly have been long shots, and there has been no response. I will begin to broaden my horizons to more realistic goals once school is over for the summer. I contemplated taking some summer classes, even enrolling in a few, but have since changed my mind. I am currently in this weird limbo where I’m not sure what to do about adding more endorsements – start now or wait to see if my future employer can offer financial assistance. But, the biggest downer has been the fact I cannot find a summer job. Lame, right?

Then came the cap and gown, the honor cords, and the pin. Just the boost I needed! Look at me, with all these accomplishments! Nothing boosts the ego better than a little self-recognition. Then came the email stating all graduates will receive eight tickets. Eight tickets…. Eight? Who are these eight people I am supposed to invite? All I did know is that I needed to have my hubby and my bestie there. That was a given. Of course, his parents are going to come too. And that’s when my mind started playing its evil tricks on me. I tried not to dwell on the fact that I would not have parents there. I tried not to dwell on the fact that there would not be any of my relatives there. I focused on just how damn proud my hubby and bestie are of me. Their love, pride, and support are more than anyone in the world could ask for.

So, why the long face, Seabiscuit?

Because sometimes life can be lonely. And it sucks. And I don’t have an explanation for it. It’s not about feeling loved because I feel that tremendously. However, there is a certain solitude sometimes that is hard to explain. Recently I was reading an article about the most important things to do in your first year of teaching to avoid burnout. Suggestions like breathe, don’t be too hard on yourself, and over plan were the words of advice I expected. Then the article slapped me in the face with “Call your mom. She loves you and is proud of you. She will cheer you up and make you remember why you are doing this” or something along those lines. Thank you Education World, I appreciate that advice.

Needless to say, I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. Then yesterday my funk blew up into a temper tantrum that might rival that of a toddler. Why? I’ve just become overwhelmed with this sense of loneliness. I feel like an orphan on so many levels. And it’s hard to explain to people without sounding depressed or angry. I’m not depressed. At least I don’t think so. Although, I may be a little bitter. I’m bitter about lost connections. I’m saddened by people who stopped trying. Did I stop trying too? I suppose I have. I know life gets in the way for everyone, but there are some people who really try and others who just don’t. And that hurts.

I have been thinking (and overthinking) about everything and I do know there are plenty of people who support me and are proud of me. I am by no means saying I do not appreciate these people in my life; I really, truly appreciate them. But, I sometimes feel like I am standing in a crowded room of strangers. It’s kind of like arriving at a busy airport or train station looking for the person who is supposed to pick you up. You are surrounded by people, and often times they are nice and even helpful, but they are not who you are looking for. It’s that void, the anxiety of waiting for the person to pick you up, that I sometimes feel in life. It’s hard to explain and I’m not sure my analogy did it any justice, but it’s a start.

Here’s the irony of my situation. I wholeheartedly know that when my name is called at graduation my bestie will be cheering the loudest of anyone in the entire auditorium (I mean, have you met her??). I also know that I cannot wait to lock eyes with my hubby when I am standing on stage because I cannot wait to see that “You did it!” moment that will consume him. So why am I in a funk, you say. Honestly, I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like it really comes down to an internal battle of quantity versus quality. Again, hard to explain; that was my best attempt.

I would apologize for the less than uplifting teacher blog post, except I’m not really sorry. I spent quite a bit of time thinking about all this and I just wanted to get the words out. It’s my blog and I can post my thoughts, whatever those may be…. Spoken like a true toddler wrapping up a tantrum….. *insert foot stomp here*. I guess what I am saying is that I needed a place to talk myself through this whole situation. There is a lot more to it that bothers me, but I know people have busy lives perusing much more entertaining social media outlets. So, if you did actual get to the end of this post, I would like to thank you for listening/reading. While I may not have clarity, I do feel better expressing my frustrations. And I suppose that’s a start.

 

Take that, edTPA!

I’m not going to lie, it has been quite a week.

We had class this past week and I was pretty distant. Yes, we had a presentation to do and yes I think I did alright for my part (we got 100%, so I guess it went fine). But, quite honestly, my mind has been anywhere else but the present. I have been worried about passing the edTPA, so much so that it has been haunting my dreams.

There’s the one where I scored a 26, when I need a 35 or more to pass.

Then there’s the one where I forgot to upload most of the bazillion supporting docs. Seriously, there’s like a dozen separate files to properly name and upload.

Bottom line, all my nightmares lead to me not passing for one reason or another.

Then came Thursday. The day when everything would present itself. I was terrified. I didn’t want to check my email or the edTPA website and yet I could not help but hit refresh over and over and over all day long. Until it happened. The email from my professor. Deep breath. Tap to open. Another deep breath. And……

I passed! Someone asked about my score and I quickly said I have assumed a new motto – never ask a woman her age, her weight, or her edTPA score. I’m not going to lie, my score is not phenomenal. But, guess what? It’s a passing score and that’s all that matters. I passed and I will soon officially become a teacher.

It is a huge accomplishment on so many levels. First of all, I succeeded! I passed the edTPA and I am officially graduating with my Masters, not to mention a 4.0 GPA. If you would have asked me 20 years ago if I saw myself as a college graduate, I would have laughed. At that time I barely attended community college. Neither of my parents went to college and, quite honestly, I’m pretty sure my dad never finished high school. It’s not like I would have been disappointing anyone. So, Grad school with the honor of Sigma Alpha Pi makes me damn proud, if I do say so myself.

But, it’s not just the fact that I worked my butt off and did well. I DID it. If you asked me as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always a teacher. Ever since kindergarten. Then in 3rd grade I had an amazing teacher and decided to narrow my dream to becoming a 3rd grade teacher. And that was always my dream. Ask my bestie and in a heartbeat she would say that was my plan. Ask my hubby and he would say I wished I became a teacher. So this was my second chance at fulfilling my lifelong dream and I DID it.

And now, amidst all this personal celebration, I am wrapping up my student teaching in 4th grade. Has anyone noticed how close my student teaching placement is to my above mentioned dream job…? Anywho, while I am thrilled to be at the end of the program, I am so sad to leave these 4th graders. They have taught me so much and they have helped me grow immensely. As the last few days are winding down, they keep asking me to stay, which makes me feel like I’ve done something right. All the hard work has paid off. Mostly in ways that cannot be measured by a test score, a research paper, or an intense state application.

I’ve attached a picture of the edTPA handbooks, my official submission, and the supporting documents to show how much went in to submitting the edTPA. Keep in mind, we submitted just one month into our final quarter. And, for the record, everyone in my cohort passed. Go team!!