I went from a Substitute Teacher trying to work and study my way into the wonderful world of being a credentialed teacher to a District Intern trying to do the same. I'm a teacher, jumping life hurdles as I continue to learn to teach and teach to learn.
STUDENT: (walks in and takes a whiff of the classroom) Miss, this room smells [the way] how you look!
ME: (preparing myself to be offended) And WHAT exactly do I look and smell like? (hands on my hips)
STUDENT: Duh, cupcakes. (turns to another student) Doesn’t it smell like cupcakes in here?
ME: (lifts eyebrow)
Not sure whether it was a good save or a compliment, but I will take it.
The California rain storm does not seem to help with my head cold and my reality is this:
I stayed home, completed assignments, read through some requirements, adhere to advice from my Professors, and vented with friends.
Ever since I was hired I have constantly been fighting my body to not get sick. I am learning as I go through this new life as a teacher and really, I do need to taking care of myself.
Yes, I have endured some countless struggles in obtaining my teacher credential (currently I am a District Intern working and studying for that credential) and let me tell you, the state demands for California teachers is QUITE demanding and though I encountered red tape, I do what I do best.
That’s right, I jump life hurdles (in this case, disguised as a sandwich) and that’s what I do best.
I am sick not only because California weather can get ugly beautiful, but it is also how I allow the pressure of teaching AND being a student that I put on myself. Sure, my professors and school district may have a part in all that, but I will take responsibility for most of it. Some teachers have this amazing gift to do it ALL and I am still sorting out the ways of balancing it.
And so, my body physically and emotionally went all out of whack. This probably happens to ANYONE who is passionate about what they do and encounter similar struggles in obtaining it. Like my students, I do not learn the way others do. I can say the same about how I teach. I have been told that I am an unorthodox teacher, but that does not mean I do not teach and my students do not learn. I have a different way of teaching and my struggle is to fit these ways into what California wants me to prove in my assessments.
It helps me to have a support system and I have one. They come in the form of teachers, students, friends, Tumblr readers, and (sometimes) my family.
I simply have to get things done, load up on Vitamin C, make sure I workout and eat healthy. So, I get it, I can not let red tape and hurdles stop me from moving forward. I mean…
And, by May, should I not complete my TPAs and my University removes me from the credential program then I have only two things to worry about:
1. $50,000+ in student debt
2. Figure out what to do next
Last night, around 11pm, I typed up a mini self-debate on whether I should go to work.
5:45AM: The alarm rings, I press snooze.
6:15AM: Alarm rings and I am feeling good. I hop in the shower and start singing Aloe Blacc’s “The Man”
7:05AM: Healthy breakfast of poached egg on top of avocado and wheat toast.
7:15AM: Feeling good, and then I sneezed…
7:30AM: Walk onto campus, realized I forgot to wear lipstick and earrings.
SECRETARY: You’re sick, aren’t you?
ME: (sweating, about to sneeze, and reaching for a tissue)
I head over to my classroom, start planning my day, and decide to plan my day for the Substitute Teacher. Thankfully I meet her in time to explain the lesson and she seems like she has a grasp on things.
ME: (on my way home)
Now…go to sleep.
On Sunday the signs were all there. By Monday I ran into a teacher who took the rest of the day off because the signs were there, too! Come Tuesday, today, by the end of 6th period, my left eye watered, my nostril drained weird bodily liquid, and I found myself randomly sneezing.
They call it a head cold and I have it.
And here I am, at 11pm, debating whether to go to work tomorrow. I am not the most organized individual in the education field and that is one reason I refuse to stay home. There is a Romeo and Juliet lesson to be taught and I have sophomores that need to be registered for their junior year. There are missions to be completed and I was assigned that mission!
And though I struggled typing that last sentence because my eye started doing weird things and my nose leaked, I STILL typed it.
Ugh. *sniffle* But I can’t afford to be sick. Literally and figuratively. I can’t!
I am beginning to think that stubbornness is part of a teacher’s personality trait…OR it’s just meh.
Earlier this week, a student drew a penis on both the elbows of my student. He walked into my classroom thinking this was funny. He tried to be comedic and pretended like he was unaware of these images. This is how I recollect THAT conversation.
My student approaches me to ask what is drawn on his elbow.
ME: A Penis.
STUDENT: (giggles) Are you sure, Miss? Is it a penis.
ME: (loudly, clearly, and purposely) THERE. IS. A. PENIS. On both your elbows, [student’s name].
STUDENT: (giggles) Miss, you said penis.
ME: (without a change of expression) I am simply answering your question, [student’s name]. You wanted to know what is drawn on your elbows and I am pointing out that there is a penis on your elbow. That’s what you wanted, right, [student’s name]? You wanted me to point out that (loudly, clearly, and purposely) THERE. IS. A. PENIS. On both your elbows, [student’s name].
STUDENT: (whispers) Miss, this is weird.
ME: Weird? Sir, (loudly, clearly, and purposely) THERE. IS. A. PENIS. On both your elbows, [student’s name]. Perhaps you should think twice about letting someone (loudly, clearly, and purposely) DRAW. A. PENIS. On both your elbows, [student’s name].
STUDENT: Okay, Okay, I get it, I get it. May I go to the restroom and wash this off?
ME: No. I have baby wipes, napkins, and hand sanitizer. Use that to take it off.
STUDENT: But, Miss…
ME: (loudly, clearly, and purposely) THERE. IS. A…
STUDENT: I’m sorry, I’m sorry…I get it.
ME: Do you? DO YOU?
STUDENT: No penis drawings in your classroom.
ME: Good enough.
He did manage to clean up his elbows. I raised my eyebrow and then redirect him back to his seat.
STUDENT: Have work to do. I know, I know. (opens his textbook)
I received an email tonight.
I did not pass the first TPA…for the second time.
I am officially on some kind of plan. This was the fear I knew would bite me in the butt (and good thing I drank half a bottle of red wine earlier tonight to cushion this blow to my heart).
Oh, what was the fear? TPAs are a Teaching Performance Assessment and I fear that something would tell me that not knowing my craft well enough would hinder me as a teacher.
I can tell you now that I am not the smartest of the bunch in my English Department, but I am sure as hell honored to be part of it because they are pretty amazing (and intellectually stimulating) people.
And that’s what I know…I know people. I know personalities and how to work with them.
I have hurdled some pretty tough life obstacles to get to where I am today and to not pass a TEACHER ASSESSMENT on the second try is a bummer.
Geez, this MUST be what these kids feel like when they have to take these state tests. It rather is awful. Sure, I can pick them up and dust off their shoulders and tell them they will have many opportunities in life to be great.
But you can not tell that to me as an adult. Nope.