Thursday, July 8, 2010

This post is not book-related but it's one of the things that's been weighing on my mind. Writing about things usually de-stresses me so this post is more like a journal than anything else. Here we go...

The upcoming school year is going to be a big one for Leslie and me. First of all, Leslie is starting high school in the fall! She's very excited yet nervous. As for me, I'm going back to elementary school. As some of you may know (because I mentioned it here a few times before), I graduated in 2009 with a degree in elementary education. Last school year, I didn't get a teaching position because the schools that were hiring were all from Oahu and I'm back to living on Maui after graduation. Instead, I took an educational assistant position at a local high school. I wasn't sure I'd like it at first because I had no experience in a high school setting, but after some shuffling around I ended up in a special ed classroom and got to work with a group of great kids. I also gained experience in a low-function SPED setting, which I was sorely lacking.

But this summer, I started to get phone calls for teaching position interviews again and from local elementary schools this time. I completely bungled my first interview which was over the phone but I was better prepared on my next interview. This time it was face-to-face with the principal and two teachers and, man, did they grill me! I thought I messed that one up too but a few days later the principal called me for a second interview and the next day I got "the call." I got the job! I'm going to be teaching second grade this coming school year! My first thought after hanging up the phone was: "what have I gotten myself into."

Here's the deal about my whole teaching thing. On my final semester of college (which was the student teaching semester), I realized too late that while I like teaching I'm not passionate about it like my classmates in the college. I felt like I was going through the motions just to graduate. But I went through with my degree because I was so close--just one semester off from graduating and my parents were pressuring me to graduate as well. When it came time to find a job and I ended up as an educational assistant, I was actually relieved because I wasn't a teacher. It was like a reprieve--I was in a classroom setting so I was essentially using my degree but I wasn't a teacher. With this new job, I am. This coming school year will be THE year I really experience having my own 20-plus students and classroom. I'll really see if I'm cut out to be a teacher and can do it for so many more years. If not, then it's time to stop living in limbo and I have to figure out what I really want to do with my life--whether I want to go back to school and pursue something else... like publishing.

Ever since I started blogging books and being expose to the world of publishing, I realize this is something I'm quite passionate about. It's almost a year since I began and I'm still learning and still enjoying it. I see myself keeping up the blog for years to come, which is weird because I'm one of those people who never stick to a hobby for more than a month. It's been in the back of my mind to maybe go back to school and pursue a degree in publishing and marketing and make it a career instead of a hobby. Unfortunately, I'm a bit broke and with having to pay back student loans, I may have to wait another year or two.

Anyway, I am going to be a second grade teacher and despite my conflicting thoughts about it, but I'm actually pretty psyched. Yes, I'm nervous and scared I'll mess up but excited nonetheless. I know I'm going to have an interesting and challenging year ahead of me because it's my first year teaching (and I've heard stories about this "magical" year). We'll see how it goes...

Yikes, I'll shut up now. I wanted to share my news and my whole teaching conflict with you all but this post became very long-winded. Sorry! If you're still reading, thank you!

Umm... any advice for a first year teacher? Any advice will be much appreciated (as well as ideas for first day of school activities)! :)

**The pictures are from last summer, taken when my friend and I were touring an Amish village in Pennsylvania. We found the school house and I played teacher.**

14 comments:

  1. Good luck in you new position! Second graders are fun! Here is a site that I use frequently. Who hasn't heard of Scholastic books, right? They also have great ideas for teachers here and at other spots on their website.

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  2. My advice is get to know your fellow 2nd grade teachers REALLY well. They have so much to bring to the table after years of experience. Make sure you ask if you need help and you'll hopefully have a mentor - they do that in our state at least - who will be showing you the ropes. A passion for reading is a huge thing for 2nd graders and just remember to bring some of yourself to the classroom.

    I had the same feelings when I graduated with my Elementary Education degree and luckily was already taking classes in Library Science and decided to aide for a year in a library to finish that endorsement off so I could be an elementary school librarian. And also, if you don't like it, look into a Masters of Library Science and try out the library! We are teachers too! :)

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  3. CONGRATULATIONS! This is excellent news!
    I understand your trepidation but I think once you get in there, get your feet wet, and give it some time, then you will be able to make a decision. Teaching 2nd grade or something else. Who knows? You may love it. And if you don't, do what you must to pursue what you really want to do. That's what most people do anyway.
    I think 2nd grade is a good year to start with. You can introduce your students to books, they are older than first graders. Ialways remembered 2nd grade as a good year. Good luck and I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

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  4. wow thats brilliant news.....congratulations.....

    My Blog

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  5. This is a good news! Congratulations Michelle!I'm so happy for you!

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  6. First off, congrats! That is just awesome and I think you'll make a phenomenal teacher!

    Secondly, I understand just where you're coming from with all the conflicting emotions. I'll be graduating with my Bachelor's in a year, but it'll be in English, then I'll be going for my Master's in Library... but I Initially started out as an Elementary Ed. major too. I felt the same way too in that I LIKED it, but I didn't love it anymore, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and go for the whole book thing and be a librarian. I dropped out of the education program just last semester. It's such a hard decision. Life decisions are tough. I hope for the best for you, friend!!!

    Things will work out just as they were meant to.

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  7. Congratulations on your new teaching position. I can imagine it must be a daunting prospect but second grade seems like a good place to start. Second graders are still young and sweet and probably a lot easier to teach than older kids. Good luck with your new job, I'm sure you will make an excellent teacher. And this also give you the chance to decide if this is what you really want to be doing. I would love to go into publishing myself and rather regret that I hadn't perused this when I was still living in the US.

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  8. Teaching can be scary, but you have definitely got the heart and that is what it really takes. Just imagine with your love of reading and your SPED experience you are the one who will be starting these kids on the road to loving books. Congrats on the job, and after 16 years teaching I still get nervous every year about my teaching abilities. You will be great!

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  9. you are all so wonderful. thank you so much for your kind words and advice everyone! love you guys :-D

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  10. I taught second grade and it was my favorite grade...and every single primary teacher will tell you that...second graders love their teacher and love school...the boys are funny and the girls will hero worship you...they love the excitement of just beginning to do things on their own...I loved doing Daily Writing and Writer's Workshop with my students...and they love readalouds...when I picked my kids up from lunch recess the minute we walked back into our classroom...they would tumble to the rug and wait for me to read to them...they loved it...and it relaxed them and got them ready for their day...I always started with Sideways Stories From Wayside School...I think it is now a series of three...and my kids forever loved reading after that...if you need any help or book ideas...let me know...I am so happy for you!!!

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  11. Awesome news! I'm sure you'll figure out soon enough, if this is what you want. A classroom of your own is an indepth, personal experience. (Hugs)Indigo

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  12. First off- congratulations on your new job! I'm starting a new job in the fall as well, and leaving the teaching job I've had for 3 years + moving to a new state in the process. Change can be so exciting and scary at the same time!

    In terms of advice for a new teacher, mine is this: 1) definitely benefit from the knowledge that your coworkers can and will share with you, but always make your own decisions in the end. Oftentimes people have the best of intentions and want to help out but if what they're telling you doesn't make sense or contradicts what you know or believe, thank them and find another source. 2) Don't take work home if you can avoid it. Stay late at school and finish work there and use planning time to the fullest. Keep your home life separate from your school life. If it can't be helped, schedule a time to do tasks at home and don't let yourself go over that time limit. You are not a robot and there's always more work to do than time to do it in. 3) Establish a good relationship with the secretary and the janitor. These are the people who will rescue you when someone vomits in class, or when the copier is broken, or when you can't figure out how to use the phone (all things that have happened to me.) 4.) Have fun! Enjoy your kids and their personalities. Remember that there are many other years of schooling ahead of them, and it isn't your job to teach them everything they're going to need to know for their entire lives. It IS your job to encourage their love of learning, to support them when they struggle, to get them help if they need it, and to teach them SOME things they will need to know.

    Congratulations again! Teaching is hard, hard work but I can't imagine myself doing anything else. :D

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  13. I know it's really late...but congratulations!! What fantastic news :-) I hope you'll be really happy in your new job, and have lots of fun with your 2nd graders!!

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