Wow. Where to begin?
October is supposed to be the hardest month for a first year teacher (besides coming back from winter break, maybe). So it came as no surprise that I dropped blogging to concentrate all my efforts on just staying afloat. BUT, I still felt like I was doing a good job staying positive and being patient with the fact that I will, undoubtedly, still suck as a teacher for a while. During this time, I took my first sick day, took multiple weekend-long trips across the Delta, and planned a bitchin' Halloween party.
It took me 4 weeks to realize that I had been in a real, unhealthy, and totally typical slump.
On weekdays I would come home, grab my Subway/Taco Bell/Lean Cuisine dinner, lay on my bed and veg out to an hour or so of mindless TV, fall asleep, wake up and do some school work - IN BED - and then crash again at 9:00. After I got sick in the middle of the month, I just stopped going to the gym, then dance, then yoga class, despite eating more Halloween Candy than the average trick-or-treater. I'd return from school and disappear into my little wing of the house.
For some reason, this Thursday brought with it a lot of clarity.
1) I have been having trouble prioritizing what my students need to learn. I felt absurdly compelled to teach them EVERYTHING that they would possibly be tested on. After being grilled for it by my roommates, my PD, and other friends, I still could not bring myself to the Learning Goal Cutting Board. ON THURSDAY, I realized that the reason I felt I couldn't 'deprive' my students of any piece of possibly relevant information is because I've always felt limited by MY education. As soon as I realized my planning revolved around MY feelings toward MY education, I had no problem trimming my plans for certain objectives so my students are better able to see what's important information and what's not.
2) I've felt suffocated by time constraints. I've been teaching massive objectives in one or two half-hour sessions. Because of this, I've been making excuses for not doing centers, or not differentiating my lessons/activities for different learning styles or levels, or not going back and reviewing objectives that students still need to master, all because I feel like I'm continuously introducing new material. What I realized this week is that if I AM limited by time, then all of that needs to happen RIGHT NOW, and take a greater percentage of my time than it would in a self-contained class, or in class periods that are upwards of 45 min.
*** Hahahahaha - this is the part where I fell asleep THREE DAYS AGO, so I'm going to continue on a new post.***