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.

 

Lesson Plans and Haz-Mat Suits

I officially completed my first week of student teaching. And I survived. Although, for the record, it was not much different than what I had already been doing with my cooperating teacher – some assisting and some co-teaching.

That’s all about to change. As of this week, I will begin to take over the class, one subject at a time. Tune in later to see if I survive the week!

My takeaways so far are pretty simple:
– Planbook is worth the $12 annual fee
– Flocabulary is one amazing website and I hope my future employer is a subscriber
– Even though I think I’m speaking loudly, my voice is not carrying throughout the class
– I need to toughen up, Buttercup!

Planning is a LOT more involved than I thought. At this point, I’m not sure if it’s the way the teachers at my host school handle their planning or if it truly is a great undertaking. I suppose I will figure that 0ut as I find my way in this career. I would like to think I may be able to find a more efficient way but, if these seasoned teachers are taking a great deal of time planning, I may have to change my mailing address to my future school.

I also need to be more of a disciplinarian. These kids are like wild animals and can smell fresh blood a mile away. I am too nice, too patient, and too kind. Somehow all the traits I saw as strong points are rapidly becoming weaknesses. Why am I giving the students multiple chances when I know they are not listening? Why am I phrasing comments to students as questions? I need to be firm. Tough. Intimidating. All the things that I am absolutely not. That said, I am open to any suggestions how to become the class meanie overnight.

Lastly, I am beginning to fear that our school is being consumed by a plague of biblical proportions. Fifth grade has been hit hard with strep. Second grade is battling the stomach flu. And there’s pink eye in third grade. In the fourth grade, there is an ever fluctuating amount of students absent for a variety of ailments. And I won’t even begin to discuss the projectile vomiting. At this rate, I am not sure I will survive student teaching due to health issues.

I currently have a pineapple scented hand sanitizer attached to me at all times. The other day I used it multiple times in class, after the second student went home for vomiting. One student said to me, “It smells like a tropical island in here.” I hope they enjoy island life because I plan to sanitize like crazy!