Sunday, February 23, 2014

Fake It Till You Make It

“I’m going to tell you a secret about everyone else’s job: No one knows what they’re doing. Deep down, everyone is just faking it until they figure it out. And you will, too, because you are awesome and everyone else sucks.” -April Ludgate, Parks and Recreation

"I've read a lot of books, so I know bunches of stuff that sounds like it could be true.” -Brian Andreas

Time for a little honesty here. Something I try not to let on to my students' parents, or my principal, the other teachers at my school, interviewers, the panel reviewing my masters inquiry project, guys I'm trying to impress, or least of all my students: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING.

I'm not trying to brag--writing cover letters is painful for me because I feel so un-genuine talking myself up, but here it is: I will have a masters of education very shortly, in which I have thus far received full credit on every assignment. I did extremely well (4.0) in my credential program. I have never failed a class, was in the top 10% of my high school class, graduated cum laude from undergrad, and consider myself decently intelligent. I am passionate about my job and the importance of education. I should be nailing this teaching thing, right?

It's terrifying to find yourself in uncharted waters, in a position that you want, that you chose to be in, that is surprisingly out of your comfort zone. I know that next year I will be a much better teacher. More confident from day one, and actually have an idea of what to expect. I will have a better idea of the end goal, which will help me know what, when I run out of time, I can cut from my schedule. I will have a better idea of how to teach--and reteach--and set clear expectations from the beginning. I still won't be perfect, I will still question my choices, and face challenging students. But I will have a little fuller of a toolbox to pull from.

But I still have to make it through this year and get hired back. I still have my group of kinders who need all the help and attention I can muster to be prepared for 1st grade. I still feel miles behind the other teachers at my school, who seem to effortlessly control their classes, and demand the behavior that I'm trying so hard for my children to exhibit. They seem to know what to do, and what to say to parents, peers, and administration. I feel like I'm just stumbling through, one day at a time, hoping not to do something too stupid. I have a long ways to go. I know it's not fair (to quote something I saw on pinterest) to compare my Chapter 1 with someone else's Chapter 20, but it's hard not to. I often have to take a deep breath and remind myself of this. And I luckily have a lot of supportive friends and family who are so patient in letting me vent and reassuring me that I'm probably doing okay.

And in light of all this, here's a primer for those of you with teacher friends: 12 things you should never ever say to teachers. I know you mean well, but my goodness do most of these ring true. If I've learned anything this year, is that teaching is ever so challenging, rewarding, and never what you assume it to be.

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