Sunday, January 20, 2008
Looking for the magic
I've spent the past week frantically getting grades together to finish out my first semester as a high school teacher. I've also been evaluating the highs and lows of my classroom and the pros/cons of my new school. If I could sum it all up, it comes down to the fact that if I could have quit this semester, I would have. I think so much of my stress and angst could have been handled if I had been assigned an effective mentor. It's not like I didn't go ask for help when I needed something but having someone there to help me evaluate myself and to just figure out who to go to for little issues would have definitely made me feel less isolated. The little email reminders that new teachers received to remind them to ask their mentors first certainly didn't help. It's hard to ask someone scurrying past your door trying to avoid eye contact. My horrible 6th period has been observed three times by our Academic Coordinator and her only suggestion to help with it involved telling me how much she hated one of her classes last year. Veteran teachers tell me to stick it out until I can get Pre-AP classes or can teach a higher grade level. But where does that leave the 9th graders if the experienced teachers always run away as quick as possible? We are all hidden away on the third floor with the rest of the building sighing with relief that they don't have to deal with the Freshmen. Are classes of thirty five with at least 25% inclusions students really expected to meet the needs of students? The Pre-AP classes are running even larger w/o SPED kids of course. On the flip side, I work with some very dedicated professionals. Not that we meet to plan or collaborate but I like what I see when I pass their classroom doors. On the up side, my room is always clean and the our head Custodian is absolutely amazing. I have an up-to- date laptop station with a helpful librarian yet have spent more on classroom supplies from my own pocket than I ever have before. I feel like Peter Pan begging for people to clap for Tinker Bell. I know people are out there but the magic is fading. Is teaching 9th grade always like this?