Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Well, I'm reaching the end of my first subbing assignment. It's been quite the 6-week journey.

There were some really hard days. Sometimes they were because of students, parents, other teachers, or feeling my own inadequacies. Sometimes I wondered if the stress and heartache were worth it, or working a job where you love every minute is just an impossible dream. I cried to my husband one night halfway through the assignment because I felt so awful about how the other teachers must think of me. I felt torn between striving for professionalism and wanting to confess to everyone that I've never been to "teacher school" and don't actually know what I'm doing.

There have been some wonderful moments that made it all worth it. Having a genuine, engaging conversation with the creative writing teacher over lunch about our favorite books and movies. Listening and talking with a quiet student who wanted to befriend me after class. Getting comfort and advice from a Spanish teacher who was understanding of my inadequacies. Chatting with a shy seventh grader about life and why boys are weird. Discussing favorite books with various students. Laughing with the whole class when I respond to the wrong name for the fifth time in a row. Finally facilitating sparks of understanding in students who struggled with particular concepts. Conquering my qualms with making eye contact in the hallway and learning to dress up every day. Getting compliments from students and fellow teachers on my shirt, shoes, or crazy socks during spirit week.

I have a couple more days before this long-term assignment is over, and I'm sure I haven't learned all my lessons yet. Being a teacher is SUPER hard. There are lots of things to prepare and keep track of, lots of things that can go right or wrong or in-between, and lots of time-saving and teaching strategies to pick up along the way. I've heard lately from a couple experienced teachers that you never feel perfect at all the things you need to, so I'd like to follow up and ask: Why are you still teaching? What is it that makes the long hours, low pay, and limited success worth it? I'm optimistic that satisfactory answers are out there. In the meantime, I'm going to keep learning and teaching as much as I can to get it figured out. I sure love the students I've had.