I have talked a bit with many of the people in my awesome middle year cohort, and I have talked with other interns about what they are going through, I have also talked to new teachers who remember their internship. The common question is, have you cried lately? The reality is that even when a lesson bombs, or I have a not great day teaching. I just do not have the time to whine about it. I always have another lesson to teach or a practice to coach, or something that matters more than sitting and stewing about something in the past. This was a short week, which I am so thankful for because the students needed a few days to refocus their learning. On Monday, I got to experience teaching my first 10/11 physical education lesson, and it was not great. I also completely forgot I was teaching it until 15 minutes before I started teaching. Therefore, the students had the opportunity to see how quickly I could improvise a lesson, lucky we are doing volleyball (sorry Kathy), which I coach so I know the skills. Wednesday was my holy crap day, I could not for the life of me get the technology to work which meant that my well planned lesson, which I was stealing from Amy Klassen, was just not going to happen. Luckily, I always have a plan, which in this case was reading a few pages of the textbook and creating a visual image of the water cycle. None of this matters because ten minutes into my science class, the secretary came into my class to ask students for their immunization forms, for their needles, later that day. The rest of my class consisted of tracking down parents to get forms signed because the students believed if they did not take forms home, that they would not get needles. This may have been true if I had 30 students, but in grade 8 I have 5. So phoning parents, and explaining to them why their children did not bring their forms home even though they had them over two weeks ago. This task took up 15 minutes of my class, the rest of my class was spent taking five students who did not want needles, and calming them down. This trickled into the rest of my day holding handing, whipping tears, and doing anything to distract students of needles for my five students, and the six grade 6 students. Did I mention that I am petrified of needles? Out of everything, I have ever done during teaching, every hard discussion I have had. The hardest thing I have done is keep young students calm about needles, when every time I looked at a needle I thought I was going to throw up. Nevertheless, I did not, and every student got their needles, minus the fingernail indents in my wrist and hand, we all walked away happy and unscarred.
The rest of my week has consisted of Professional Development in Saskatoon at the Horizon School Division Literacy Summit 14. I love PD, I have always loved PD because it gives me a chance to learn something about a specific topic, but when I attend PD I want to attend it with people who are equally excited, people who want to learn as much, or more than me. When you have colleagues that don’t care, or only pick out the negatives of each speaker, than what is the point of going. Why is a school division making people who do not want to learn attend PD, they ruin it for those that want the discussion. I do not always agree with everything a presenter says, but at least I listen and openly consider what is being said, finding something you do not agree with is as much learning as finding things you do agree with, but how is it possible to disagree with everything? The research is changing. Why are the teachers who refuse to change the ones who have job security, why are they never questioned, never reviewing their learnings and teaching philosophies? Why are first year teachers evaluated but thirty year teachers not, because they have been doing it for so long, or because people are too scared to question those that may have also taught their parents?
Are these really my concerns, or do I just have so many things that I need to be worried about that I am finding anything possible to distract me? Or is it just that I am not stressed? Is it possible that all of the stresses I experienced from last year, have nulled my ability to get stressed over the not great lessons and the time I stray from the curriculum, or do I just internally know that the curriculum only matters to those that are scared to mess up. I don’t care if I fail at a lesson, but I do care if I have every student dreading whenever I am in charge of teaching a lesson. Does that make me a weak teacher? I guess that depends who you ask.