At the time that I am writing this, it is the last day of school. I usually do a reflection each year and this year was such an…experience that I decided to reflect on what went well and what didn’t. This was such a wild ride and I definitely will not forget it! There have been lots and lots of lows and a few highs but…you live and you learn.
At the beginning of this school year. I had such high hopes. I was finally at a great school that was close to where I live and the kids responded well to me. I had finally made it to the district from the charter school and I actually had a classroom with windows! I know it’s like why does it matter? But it did matter to me. I had incorporated a silent reading time for my classes and it was great. (they craved books). I mean, of course it was confusing in the beginning but it was only because I was new to the district and it was kind of different than how things ran with the charter schools. But the kids followed instructions and it made me feel like I was making growth as an educator.
Things were going great (to me) until….it wasn’t. By the end of September, I was transferred to a school that was the total opposite of where I was. It was a completely different demographic and in the hood (I won’t mince words). I went from teaching sixth grade to teaching eighth grade. The eighth graders at this particular school were well into their teens (like 16!) and they did not respect authority at all. By the time I got to their school, they had two different teachers and it was only September. This school was rough…real rough and it brought me back to my time at the very first school I got a job at and…it wasn’t pretty.
I was depressed. I had anxiety. I did express my concerns to the principal and asked to be transferred out to a different school…one who was willing to take me but because there was such a high need at the school, she wasn’t willing to let me go. I decided to take FMLA. My mental health dwindled and I was hating waking up every day going to a school I hated with kids I could not stand and who were bigger and lets be honest, I was afraid of them. It’s a school in the inner city and I was not made to work with those kids. I’m going to make a statement and I know it’s messed up but I do not hold those types of kids in high regard. I view them as trash and it’s not like they proved me wrong…they didn’t.
When I came back, I was not ready. I wasn’t going to therapy at the time because well…I had no money. I had bills to pay and I had no money. I was falling behind and catching up was no joke. I didn’t catch up with my bills til’ March! So from November to March it was a real struggle. I was knee deep in depression and I just felt like a complete failure. I would get panic attacks. My body was responding negative to the stress. I would have nightmares and I wanted to die. I really wanted to die. I felt like my life was over.
In January, I decided that I seriously could not take another moment in that school. I hated the kids. I hated the school. I couldn’t stand admin and I just wanted out by any means. I decided to apply back with the charter school company but with a different school. I applied for whatever position the other schools in my area had and eventually I got a job at a location in a great part of town (albeit it’s a very long drive from where I live) but it’s in a great part of town and again I would have eighth graders although I didn’t find this out until my first day at the school. Before that, I assumed that I would do 5th grade ELA.
In the beginning the kids were okay. The only issue is that it took me a while to get access to things but behavior in the beginning was okay. After a while though, it got real rough. They (especially my last class) started to show their true colors. The cursing, the racial jokes, the talking trash about me in Spanish…it was awful! Do I need to work with my classroom management? Yes I do and I will gladly admit that but also….the kids were a tough group. Everyone told me that when I first got there and I tried to ignore the noise because I wanted to come in with a fresh mind and positive vibes. We see how long that lasted. It was just really hard and I found myself writing kids up more and more with little results. Their behavior only got worse and at that point, it was just in me to survive. I began to get the Sunday Scaries once again. I’d come home from work feeling defeated.
It wasn’t all bad though. There were some kids that I felt I made a connection with (one girl even gave me her Harry Potter collection) and they were my bright spot in the day. I also did enjoy having a planning period right before lunch so that was great and this school actually did activities and had field trips! I was actually excited and I had honors!!! Some of them even had me sign their shirts today. That was great.
Something that I was not expecting was….I got COVID. The day before I was supposed to accompany them to Busch Gardens but literally the night before I tested positive for COVID. I was so hurt and so sad but I was like, the way Satan is set up something like that would happen. We had an “outbreak” at school but I eventually caught it and then my co-teacher caught it. We both caught it the last week of school. Technically I still have it but because they shortened the quarantine time to five days, I came back to work. Am I comfortable being at work with COVID? Nope. Not at all but it is what it is. I did make sure to put in for my COVID PTO (sick leave) so at least I’ll get paid for it.
I still don’t believe in my ability as a teacher. I feel like an awful teacher and although I don’t plan on staying in the classroom and this is my stepping stone but still…I don’t have great classroom management skills. I don’t know what to do when the kids get defiant. Parent contact didn’t help. Writing them up didn’t help. I’m not sure what the answer is but I know I’m going to a conference this summer for it. Speaking of the summer, I’m not getting paid really. I mean I’ll get like a $400 check but like, I have bills. I need food. I need gas. I’m applying to jobs this summer but I don’t know what to do.
So those are my thoughts and my feelings. I don’t know what the future holds for me as far as a career in education goes. I’ll take things a day at a time of course but to say I’m super anxious. I hope to one day find the answers.