Monday, February 13, 2006 

Day 110: The ups and downs of teacherhood

Teacherhood - add this word to the dictionary please - I never heard that word before but I think it describes well the way I feel about teaching. A special mental state that combines teaching with feelings of motherhood.

Not the way I think about teaching, but the way I feel. I feel part mom, part teacher.

When I'm in class lecturing on a new topic, writing things down on the blackboard, handing out assignments and specifying how I want the next lab report written up, I'm definitely a simple teacher. When I'm correcting and grading hundreds of tests, I'm still a teacher. But when my heart fills with angst as I add up some of the marks, specifically those of the students that repeatedly fail, fail and fail, the motherly side of me takes over. Through these students' repeated inability to get a passing grade, I feel MY failure to reach out to them and teach them the way THEY need to be taught. And if I can't do that, I'm not really doing my job.

I'm also trying to give as much support as I can to my special student, the one who is depressed. I'm starting to feel depressed myself, not because of her, but because teaching is not easy, letting go of those that fail repeatedly is both impossible and tormenting. I can't balance this the way all the other (real) teachers seem to.

Perhaps this whole adventure was a mistake. And yet, tomorrow morning, I'll be smiling at them as we dissect sheep brains at 8:30AM... go figure...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 

Days 100, 101 and 102: Winds of Change

It's weird... I'm almost in control of the situation, and that makes me feel good - and worried that something big is going to land on my head and knock me right out.

Let's see - any kind of browsing through my posts paint the picture of someone who is suddenly wearing teacher shoes - and the clerk screwed up badly because they are NOT running shoes (which would really help!). I have been feeling out of breath since the 2nd day of class, like I can never really catch my darn tail despite trying to 40-50 hours per week.

Somehow, I've managed to get ahead in my biology planning, and I am only 204 assignments behind in correction (which is not bad!). The winds are changing... who knows? Perhaps I can even look forward to some smooth sailing once in a while between now and June...

Sunday, January 29, 2006 

Day 99: Fireworks in my head

This title does not refer to a bunch of great ideas I've had all day, but rather to the migraine that started on Tuesday at school, then played hide-and-seek with the meds I was taking until it finally won on Friday around 1AM - I had taken all the meds I was allowed to take for a one-week period so I had to rely on regular OTC drugs - which is basically the equivalent of simply praying for it to go away...

And so I called in sick on Friday - it was actually a ped day and teachers were planning stuff for the next school year. It's now becoming quite clear to me that I am not returning to teaching in September 2006, so I was almost happy to miss this day, although I do like these ped day meetings because they are NOTHING like corporate life meetings.

I'm not likely to return because the biology course load I am currently carrying is already promised to someone else, someone who basically left her kids and hubby behind for this school year to get a teaching permit in another province so that she can teach here in Quebec (doing this in 1 year instead of the required 4-year program in place here). The technology teacher will be back from maternity leave in September. There is a math teacher retiring this year, so any opportunity would be in math but I'm not sure I'd be interested in teaching that.

The whole "one-year-contract" is starting to look like just that - ONE year - and I don't want to think about it too much. I just don't have the time to think about it.

Why? Why? Why, you say??? Because a teacher's work is never done and I have 102 biology assignments and 102 technology assignments to grade...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 

Days 96 & 97 & 98: Greatest challenge yet...

Well, so far in these 98 school days, I've improvised classes, quickly read a chapter to then explain it in all its details (read time: 10 minutes, class time: 90 minutes), I decided to introduce Project Management as something they need to learn and even have each class working on a monster project of building a city and in a couple of weeks, these kids will be dissecting hearts, eyes and frogs, all under my supervision... Class time is one thing - I've also had to learn the hard way that grading is a monster that takes over your life - whatever of it is left once all of my own kids are in bed - and that many hours can be wasted - oops! - SPENT - correcting and assigning grades and trying not to be judgemental.

This is the executive summary of my life in the past 98 days. However, none of it compares in importance with the fact that one of the girls I teach has been diagnosed with depression and is currently in dire need of support.

As soon as I found out, I contacted the mother to let her know that I was available to help in any way she could think of. I've gotten closer to the student by offering a couple of rides home and trying to explain to her, without it looking like I was explaining anything, that this is not her fault, that her feelings are real and that they will change to let the sun shine into her life again.

Because she missed a few weeks of school, I was able to "tutor" her at lunch time this week so that she can catch up with the 2 subjects I teach and hopefully feel more at ease next week when she starts attending all of her classes regularly again.

It seems that the whole picture has changed now - one minute I am trying to get my stuff together not to look like a fool in front of these kids, and now, all that seems foolish itself. A young girl's life has been turned inside out by demons in her head, and nothing feels more important than helping her chase them away.

The other teachers don't seem to worry about it - I suppose with time, when you teach for years and years, you see this often and you have to cut the cord and let things happen the way they were meant to happen.

I'm still green and unable to look the other way. Perhaps another hint that I'm not made for a job that can yank at your heart and soul at any moment...

Monday, January 23, 2006 

Days 87 to 95: Back from the dead...

Well, it's been ages since I last posted. I'm not sure what happened - potential guesses include:
A) I am becoming more of a real teacher (and thus have less time for blogging)
B) I am still baffled by everything I need to do and can't schedule my blogging time
C) I'm running out of steam as the ship has reached the half-way mark and has not sunk!
D) All of the above
E) None of the above

I'll let you pick for me (you can post your answer in the comments!) but here are 7 things I have learned in the past couple of weeks:

1) the Christmas break isn't long enough - despite what I used to think about those lazy teachers who had ALLLLLLL that time to recharge over the holidays

2) Exams (questions and answer sheets) take a LONG time to prepare.

3) Multiple choice questions are my absolute favorite as far as correcting goes. Life should be a multiple choice question (perhaps it is... think about it...)

4) Although I'd like to believe I'm on top of things, I'm still not nearly prepared enough and I have tons of preparation and thinking to do to make it to the end of the year...

5) I'm dreading the upcoming dissections (read why here) which are inevitable in the biology curriculum...

6) Some students perform poorly despite the help I offer, and the threats I make. Now, I have to follow through on the threats and call up some parents. What a major drag (for me!).

7) Technology worries me - I've bitten off more than I can chew and it's only going to get worse...

Welcome back to my world - one in which these students think they are learning from me while I am constantly learning from them!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 

Days 85 & 86: Bad bad cold...

It was back to school for me today. Yesterday actually, but I stayed home and did some grading all day. Back in the actual classroom today, feeling somewhat under the weather.

My eyes are watery and itchy, my nose needs constant attention and I feel lousy. All the signs of another cold, probably an unwrapped gift from someone during the last holiday parties...

And so this blog will be short so that I don't spread germs on ALL of the letters on the keyboard. Letters that aren't used often in English such as ... oh well, looks like the whole keyboard may be contaminated by now....

Friday, January 06, 2006 

Back to school in 3 days...

Where did the time go? I thought I would have time to do all sorts of planning and thinking, and all the grading that had to be done... and here we are. Friday night - school starts on Monday and I have not tackled the research project grading yet...

We had a party - well, OK, let's call it a "get-together" because the term "party" would imply lots of booze and loud music, and someone inadvertenly revealing some dark secrets that spills out thanks to the alcohol level in their blood. What happened at our place was nothing like that.

My oldest friends from childhood and high school (why am I even stating both as if there was a difference?) started arriving around 4PM, lugging around booster seats, diaper bags under one arm, and kids stuffed into their snowsuits under the other... 4PM was a strategic time - not only did it give me most of the day to get the house in decent order, but all the toddlers and babies were able to nap either before coming over, or in the car on the way here.

Once the last guests made it over the threshold, the house was pretty full of action, with 11 adults and 14 kids, ranging in age from a couple months to 9 years old. If you've ever been to the zoo, and seen the monkeys all get excited at the same time for no apparent reason, you have a pretty good picture of what was transpiring at our place. Parents of the younger mobile kids were trailing them closely, monitoring the stairs and the coffee table corners while other ran constantly to the fridge for milk, or to the diaper bag for another diaper.

I was tired just watching them tend to their kids - slipping in a two-minute conversation here and there before dashing to some corner of the house - and I didn't realize how crazy the whole evening was until everyone had left.

And let's be clear - we kept the last guests in our doorway until it was 10:00PM sharp - because we couldn't let them leave at a single-digit time (what kind of party ends that early?????).

We debated having a 4th child (a while back, not during this party!). We decided a little over a year ago not to have anymore kids (let's remember that our baby #2 turned out to actually be #2 AND #3 in the form of twins) and once hubby took care of making that permanent, I was haunted with some regret.
I no longer have ANY regret about this decision. Things are JUST starting to get easier with the twins who are now 3 1/2 years old. Watching the breastfeeding, the diapering, the running around and the constant worrying that something dangerous was about to be swallowed, I can't help but think that we made the right decision.

My Photo

About me

  • I'm Lolita
  • From Canada
  • Challenges... don't we all love a good challenge? University, married life, a mortgage, kids, keeping my sanity while we cruise through life at 100 MPH... why not try my hand at teaching for a year. After all, a school year is only 180 days - anyone should be able to survive 180 days, right? Well, I'm about to find out - follow my journey and enjoy my trials and tribulations as I embark in this 180 day rollercoaster ride of teenage hormones and drama, spiked with discipline, homework, exams and surprises I'm sure...
My profile

Check this out

Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates