Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back to School

I haven't posted in 2 weeks, so you might have guessed that school is in full swing. Starting last week, I was at the school every day working on all kinds of stuff, going to meetings, and drinking lots and lots of caffeine. Turns out if you spend your whole summer sleeping as late as you want, being at school at 7:20 am is pretty rough.

This first week is sort of killing me. I'm out of "teacher shape." But it's so fun to be back! It's weird how quick you can fall back into teacher mode.

First day of school outfit! Yes I planned this days in advance, just like 2nd grade. I miss you Tweety Bird backpack.

I love my new heels, and wore them the entire first day. And by wore them I mean I stood, paced and ran all over the school in them. At the end of the day I didn't have blisters, but my dogs were barking and ONE OF MY TOES WAS NUMB. And it hasn't gone away! The interwebs says it's normal and it's just temporary nerve damage. So I guess I just get used to it for now? WTF

I came home to a clean house, warm delicious homemade dinner (by the Beard) and a beautiful new bamboo plant, which I talk about buying every time we go to Harmon's. Ryan's kindness healed my foot! He didn't even get mad when I fell asleep on him several times. What a guy.

Starting new, I just keep thinking of last year. I learned so much last year, and I keep making mental notes of all the things I would like to do differently. *Kind of long. Probs only teachers will fully understand this. But it applies to life.*
  1. Be more serious. Last year it was hard to not feel like an intern. It was hard to take myself as a teacher seriously, because I felt that many people in the staff and administration weren't taking me seriously. Like I was just a cheap placeholder. As long as I wasn't causing problems or making waves, they could just forget about me. Teaching is a profession, and one we should take pride in. We get to change lives and be someone vitally important in these  teen's lives. It means dressing more professionally (even though I was overdressed compared to much of the staff last year), paying real attention in my meetings and stepping up to help where I can in the school.
  2. Be on time. It's so easy to roll in a little late, especially as the year goes on. I don't clock in. No one is waiting at my door. Yet, the days when I am on time run much more smoothly. Not to mentions it is a measure of honesty and integrity that I can improve upon. 
  3. Plan in advance. I hate to admit this, but I don't think I'm alone in "flying by the seat of my pants" many days. It wasn't uncommon to have no idea what we were doing next week, not to mention days that I didn't even read through the PowerPoint for the following day. I was so tired and overwhelmed sometimes, but in reality it only made me more stressed and exhausted to feel unprepared and naive. I've never been a formal lesson planner, but this year I'm thinking out my agenda for each day and outlining it briefly. I already feel more confident about it. 
  4. Spend more time with my students. The best memories from last year were times that I was interacting with my students, even if it wasn't directly related to the curriculum. I want to meet my kids at the door - it makes a huge difference. I want to ask them about themselves and follow up with what's going on in their lives. I want them to feel comfortable with me (not in a friend way, don't misunderstand me), and to know that I value them.
  5. Emphasize positivity. Last year I figured this out halfway through the year. I had the choice of spending another semester stressing about assignments, tests and notes, or I could have fun teaching. And I did! I reinforced my important rules, and then let everything else go. We started having a great time learning, and I think the kids appreciated it even more than I did. 
  6. Be a better example. This school is very different than Mapleton Junior High. A large section of the staff and student body are nonmembers, and it really made me examine my conduct. Do I want to be one of those Mormons that reinforces their views of bigoted hypocrites? No! I want to be a good person, a great teacher and a fun friend that is also a Latter-day Saint. 
  7. Take care of myself. Last year I would wait until I was sick to sufficiently hydrate and sleep. I wasn't super vigilant about hand sanitizer. I would veg on the couch when I was tired after school, instead of making myself exercise. I drank WAY too much DDP. I'm trying to set a healthier pattern. I've even gone to the gym on my way home after school! (It helps that I get off at 3:30 and the Beard works till 10)
To my new teacher and prospective teacher friends - don't get frustrated because your idealistic view isn't materializing. It won't for a while. And don't get bogged down in the administrative logistical details of daily teacher life. Take some time to remember why you are doing this and what you (and the kids) will remember in 5 years. I'm going to strive to remember our district motto:

Every child, everyday. 


  1. This was interesting to read from a non-teacher perspective. Sounds like you're doing great! No surprise! Keep up the good work and make sure to tell us halfway through if you've been able to accomplish these goals! :)

  2. I hope you have a great year! They're going to love you. Favorite memories from last school year were going to up City Creek Mall and the hospital with you and NJHS. Have fun. Live long and prosper. -Jen

  3. Awwww, I love your "back to school" outfit! It was so good meeting you yesterday, you are the cutest! Now following along :)
    Modern Modest Beauty

  4. yay for teaching!! this inspired me to have some teaching goals this semester, too. also, i LOVE your first day outfit. where did you get the black heels?? i've been on the market for closed toed black heels for months now.

    1. I got those at Forever Young shoes! DSW has some great classic ones too. :)