I just finished my first week in the classroom as an ATF teacher. In the midst of the ups and downs of the roller coaster that has been my first week as a teacher, I discovered something: I love this.
I love teacher jokes and #teacherprobz, I love planning a lesson, I love leading a classroom, I love learning, and most importantly, I love
these my kids.
Yes, one week in and I’m already claiming them as my own. Because I can and because I see the smallest part of myself in every single one of them.
Douglas, by most descriptions, would be classified as “a little shit”. He’s hyperactive, he distracts on tasks students, he talks back. He’s me. I am Douglas. We come from different worlds, but we are one in the same. He’s smart too. So smart that he’s bored.
It only took three days before he reached the 4th consequence in my 50 minute lesson that I instruct daily: a phone call home. The numbers he provided on his student survey were fake, so I went digging through registration records and found his mom’s phone number. Haha! Nothing gets past me, Douglas! I snickered.
Like the nervous little first year teacher that I am, I consulted two mentors and constructed a full length script before I dialed the number. Once in touch with his sweet mama, she informed me of his ADHD and I asked for what has worked for him in the past and some insights since she is, after all, an expert on her son.
“Keep him busy,” she instructed. “Keep him challenged”.
I can do that.
He’s the sweetest too. Each time he’s getting out of hand (which only takes about 30 minutes into my lessons), we have a little chat in my most forced and practiced “relationship building voice” and, like magic, he turns himself around.
He would never tell me or show me, but another teacher in my teaching quad (a group of 4 teachers that work together over the summer) told me that he loves me and that I’m the only one that has gotten successful work out of him yet this week.
This, was the ultimate win.
Obviously, I still have a ton of work to do and a ton of growing. This week, I have repeatedly failed my students. But I can only get better and I can’t wait to work hard and pour more of my sweat, blood, and tears into this jobs and these kids. Because this is what I’m suppose to do, and I know that because I love it.