Ah, professional development. Teaching truly is a profession like no other. Never before have I gone to school just to go to school and, when I got to school, was carted off to another school for more “development”. I’m developing alright! I’m developing an overwhelming feeling of PANIC! I have spent all this week, and part of last, attending meetings instead of preparing my classroom…few of which I leave feeling any better. As I listen to a speaker, lost in jargon of the profession, I wonder if the yearly repetition of rules and procedures they are already familiar with are any more respectful of or beneficial to the seasoned teachers I sit alongside.

The reason I’m freaking out: with all of these meetings, some of which turn out to be hours longer than intended, I haven’t had any on-the-clock time to clean or decorate my room, plan for lessons, or even take a breath.

Then, my coworkers insist that I only work from 7:30-3:30. I’m just wondering…how? Most of the administrators and former teachers I speak with empathize with the fact that most first year teachers work way more than 40 hours per week.

In a mad dash, I did my best to get my room ready Friday afternoon. It’s okay- the kids probably won’t notice that my name is nowhere to be seen (it’s on a powerpoint for them). So now I just have to prepare myself mentally. I like to write out a “plan” for my day the night before.

On top of that, I’ve realized that my team of teachers is going to be a source of frustration for me this year. I’m trying my best to change my perspective on this. I am on a team of three teachers- one with a Ph.D. and 6 years experience and one going on her 3rd year. I like both of them as individuals but when the two of them together, the vibe is negative and draining. I’m beginning to wonder how I’ll be able to do anything but survive- and it seems that even with their experience, they’re doing the same. Friday morning, I broke down in tears after one of them snapped at me. I was feeling like, “Woman, overboard!” and for a moment, I considered resigning. I found out later that my team mate is having problems in her own personal life.

I totally understand and I think maybe I just need to keep that in the forefront of my mind. My own children haven’t seen their father in 6 months. The kids have been talking and crying about it a lot lately and it has been hard on all of us. It’s hard to sleep at night- now, not only do I worry about my own children but I go to bed at night with TPO’s, Differentiated Instruction and Procedure Powerpoints roaming around in my mind. I understand how your own problems could potentially bleed out at work.

So here I am, on the cusp of my first year. I am probably a pretty typical first year teacher- perfectly qualified but feeling utterly unprepared. It’s like going to a dress-up party and thinking they meant costumes. I’ll walk in there with degrees and certifications under my belt and realize it’s all theory needing to be put into action.

I spent my weekend trying to clean house (a disaster!) and get enough sleep. Tonight, I’m going to a friend’s house to get a pep talk before we start school tomorrow.

As my principal says, “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not learning.” Tune in next week to see how many mistakes I’ve made!