New Beginnings

I’ve always loved the beginning of a new school year. New pencils, new notebooks, the feeling of a fresh start. I’ve been living this new beginning every September for 18 years, but this year’s a little bit different–I’m starting it as a teacher.

June feels like ages ago, but it’s only been a couple of months since I was hired. The several weeks leading up to that were intensely stressful as any job search is. But I got really lucky and get to work in a school with a diverse student population with a friend from my very own cohort and with a principal I think will both challenge and support me. But now that the stress of finding a job has ended, the stress of doing the job has begun…

Last week I got to see my classroom and I’m so pumped. It’s kinda perfect. There’s two whiteboards on opposite sides of the room, so one can be for lessons while the other can be for students’ use. I imagine lots of sharing of ideas, students teaching students or even just creative expression in rare down time. I’ve decided to limit myself to things I put on the walls, because I want the walls to be covered in student work. I am enamored with the idea of having pictures of diverse peoples and heroes though, so scouring the internet for some I can afford on a budget.

I signed up for redditgifts for the Teachers, where teachers are matched up with a reddit user who donates a “care package” to your classroom. I’m not asking for anything fancy, mostly a class set of scissors and lots of markers for chart paper, things that aren’t expensive to begin with but add up. At this point, I got nothin’ so every bit helps.

More than filling my classroom with supplies and making it feel comfortable is the weight of… well, teaching. I keep telling people, “I’m new, so I don’t really know anything!” Which isn’t true. I do know lots of things about content and pedagogy. But there’s lots I don’t know and while I’m giving myself the benefit of the doubt that I’ll learn and figure it out, I’m terrified I’ll be outed as a fraud. How can anyone entrust me with the lives of 20-25 children? I can barely keep track of where I parked my car!

But I’ve decided this fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It doesn’t make me lack confidence, oddly enough. It means that I care, that I want to do a good job. I have confidence in my passion for learning and hopefully, for right now, that’ll propel me enough to figure it out as I go and learn from the pros that surround me.

I’m excited for this new beginning. I’ve never gotten to experience the beginning of a career (unless you count my career as a barista, which I’d rather not), so I want to take a moment and bask in the new-ness of it. But I intend to never take for granted the feeling of September approaching so I can enter the classroom as ready for a new year as my students.