I have to say, I have never experienced as many highs and lows in a job as I have over the last month. I thought I was going insane - no really - completely and totally unstable - until I was at a workshop today and was reminded that this is totally normal for first year teachers.
One minute I am so excited about the new prospects of my job and the kids and all the cool stuff I will get to do this year. The next, I am dispairing at how ill-equipped and totally overwhelmed I feel, and am wondering how on earth I am going to be able to do this job with even a hintof adequacy. I worry about my motivation factor to spend the time required to do a good job. I think it's low. I am having SUCH a hard time keeping up with marking (and don't even get me started on planning!), and I feel like it's all I ever talk about. I feel bad for my friends, particularly those who I talk to often, cause that's all they hear from me. Marking, marking, marking, whine whine, whine.
In fact, I took a day off on Wednesday as a "let's try to avoid a breakdown" day. Beter one day off now than five days off later, right? I had two naps and got a little bit caught up on my marking, but by no means enough.
Then today (Thursday) I was at union workshop. One of the sessions was about the teacher rehabilitation program, and in talking about some of the services they offer, they made mention of new teachers totally elated one day and then balling their eyes out the next, and I went, "Ah HA! So I'm NOT going nuts!!!" Now I'm not in need of stress leave or anything, but it made me realize that hey, this is normal.
I'm trying so hard to find the balance between the much heavier workload I have now and keeping up with some of the things that are important to me - helping out at church, spending time with friends, etc. and I don't feel like I've got a good handle on it yet. BUT, these two days out of the classroom have given me a bit of a mental break, and I'm ready to go attack things again. Plus, I got a little boost today on my way home...
This was the first time I'd left my kids with a TOC (teacher on call) and I was a little nervous - how would they be? Well, I stopped by school on my way home from the workshop jsut to drop something off and to check out the note left by my TOCs. Both days, the subs left glowing notes about my kiddos. They said that they are a lovely class, had no problems, and that the days went great!
Ooooh! I am so proud of them!!! I can't wait to go in tomorrow and tell them how pleased I am with them, and what a great report I got back from both TOCs! They're SO getting a "Popcorn Friday" tomorrow (hey, a little positive reinforcement never hurt anyone, eh?)!!! Woohoo!
Maybe the popcorn will help distract them from the fact that I STILL don't have their math tests marked.... *sigh*
I think I'm just going to have to resign myself to riding the emotional roller coaster this year. Those of you who know me, consider this fair warning!