My First Semester Teaching

When I was in second grade, my teacher told my mom that I would make a great teacher. Ever since that moment, I latched on to the idea of being a teacher. 

In high school, I had the wonderful opportunity to work in the Education and Training Academy that my school had, and that fully cemented my plans of becoming a teacher. 

While it took me six years of schooling (bachelor’s degree and master’s degree) and two years in the public library system, I finally had the great fortune to get a teaching job in the school system that I attended.

Even though I am certified to teach 6th grade, I never thought that I would teach that grade level. I always thought that I would stick to my comfort zone of high school, but I am so grateful for this chance.

After my first semester of school, I have learned different things about me, the teaching field, and the students I teach.

  1. Teaching Middle School Is an Adventure

As I’ve mentioned before, my experience when it came to teaching was with high schoolers. While I was in a position of authority, since they had their primary teacher, I was mostly seen as an assistant or someone their age they could kind of relate to. 

For the most part, this is no longer the case. I am the only teacher they have in the classroom and while I am a young 25, to my students that is ancient. However, I’m still able to make connections with them due to my love of YouTube and anime/manga. 

Everyday is a challenge in trying to keep them focused on their tasks while also making sure they don’t bother others. I never realized how many times I would have to tell them to stop touching other students’ belongings, but it’s a common phrase I say every class. They also tend to make noises ranging from meme lord status to disturbing groaning. I am confused by them at times.

However, my favorite part of teaching these 6th grade babies is that they are still interested in drawing no matter how bad they may be. I love to give them the opportunity to create or doodle while they also learn. I even have a folder of artwork from my students, and I love them all. 

  1. So Much Paperwork and Meetings!

Even though I had seen the memes and heard the tales from other teachers, I didn’t realize how much paperwork I would need to keep up with and the meetings attached to them. While most things are digital, that can at times make it worse because that leaves more items scattered and harder for my disorganized brain to keep track of.

However, while the meetings hosted by the school can be time consuming, the ones that I have the most of are with parents when it comes to talking about student behavior and grades. Luckily, I have been fortunate in being able to have interactions with parents who genuinely care about how their child is doing and doesn’t immediately place the blame on me. It’s nice to have these positive interactions despite the horror stories I have been told. 

  1. Communication Is Key

I have been a big proponent of communicating effectively, and this case even more so now. I have around 100 students. This means I have around 200 adults who I need to keep in contact with in order to make sure they know about what is happening in the classroom and with their specific student. This involves emailing parents and students every week, and then making sure I respond to any more emails that are sent.

Communication is also important when working with my coworkers. I am very fortunate to have an amazing team that has been a great support over the course of my first year teaching. When it comes to creating new units for the month, we work together in order to make sure we are all working on different pieces of the big puzzle. I also speak with them about advice they have for me, as well as ways for me to better help my students. 

  1. I May Be Overworking Myself?

If you ask anyone close to me, they can easily tell you that I am one of the laziest people they know. I tend to procrastinate a lot, and I’m really bad at doing things that I say I will. However, when it comes to teaching, I’m practically the opposite. 

Every day I make sure to get to school early and leave school later than most of my coworkers. I usually don’t take my breaks to relax. Instead, I spend my time creating lessons and grading papers even when I have a day (or more) off. While my coworkers tell me to not overwork myself, I still do. I know I will probably regret this by the end of my first year, but I have to find a way that works best for me, and I will learn the hard way.

  1. My Students Are My Family

I went into teaching hoping to help students learn and grow. In the process, I learned that by spending so much time with these students, I became so close to them that I began to see them as my family. In the case of some of the students, they remind me, either in looks or personality, of some of my actual family members. 

I am so proud of all of my students’ accomplishments, and I feel strongly when any of my students are sad or hurt. Despite how frustrating some of them can be, I love them all.

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