Sunday, September 15, 2013

On Being An Optimist And Spending All My Money

"Teaching is the greatest act of optimism." -Colleen Wilcox

"We expect teachers to reach unattainable goals with inadequate resources. The miracle is this: they often do." -Haim Ginott

With the exception of being a morning person (I'm not), teaching fits me well. I love kids books, school supplies, and I'm a little bit of a hoarder. I believe in the power of education, I assume good intentions, and I think that every kid is capable of learning. It's not always easy to maintain these beliefs. Rather, it's rarely easy, yet every day I have a new chance to try again.

In related news, both Target and Amazon have benefited greatly from my becoming a teacher. While theoretically teachers shouldn't have to buy their own supplies, the reality is that teachers spend a great deal of money--their own money--on school supplies. I certainly have. It's more than just the basics. A lot of the basics are covered either by the school, or rather through parent donations (a result of budget cuts), but if you want to have a decent amount of options for activities or even just putting stuff on the walls, you've got to do a little extra. I have been slowly building up my room, spending money I didn't really have, until my first paycheck came along. It's also been very entertaining to watch my Amazon recommendations shift to kids books and school supplies.

Luckily I didn't have to spend a giant amount on a rug; the school got it for me. It was a very exciting day when it finally arrived. My room finally felt like a kindergarten room! I still have mixed feelings about my desks (I'd rather have tables, or just smaller desks), but hey, I have a sweet rug!

I've got to take pleasure in the little things, like a beautiful rug, and unexpectedly calm moments, because it's easy to get bogged down by everything that is going wrong. The rug didn't really solve behavior issues, because no matter how visual those carpet rectangles are, I have several students (okay, it feels like at least half the class) who cannot for the life of them just stay in one section for longer than 10 seconds. I couldn't have lasted a week in kindergarten if I wasn't optimistic. I have to stay positive, despite constantly feeling like I don't know what I'm doing, or I'm not doing enough for my students. 

So I continue to be as consistent as I can, stick to our routine, and follow through on consequences. Kindergarten is WAY more complicated than anyone, even me, could have expected. I continue to spend more money than I probably should on things for my classroom, from things to help me organize the million things I have to keep track of, to more things (puzzles, prizes, toys, art/school supplies) for my students. Teaching is a huge investment of time and emotion. My weekends are full of prep, and thinking about what I can do differently or what more I can do for my students. There is really no leaving your work at work as a teacher, because the job becomes so personal. 

Yet, I can't imagine doing anything else.

1 comment: