Today begins my sixth year of teaching.
In this time I’ve learned some hard lessons, been knocked on my ass, and fought like hell to get through to my students.
I’ve had two babies, planned a wedding, struggled with myself, and my job. I’ve fought parents, my coworkers, and students.
I’m excited to be back, but as teaching should, it’s caused some reflection.
My first year I was idealistic, bright-eyed, naive. I was given a hard roster, and I made those kids mine. I’m still in contact with many of those first four classes.
This year, I’m less idealistic, more dark-circled than bright-eyed, and battling myself and depression to begin with.
I’m no less in love with my students or why I do this.
I love literature. No doubt about it, it is my first love. I love themes, connections, authors, symbolism. But I also love being the person some of these kids trust. The pleasant face they get to see in the morning.
I’m not going to pretend this is some easy job you can phone it in for. It’s not. In fact, it’s overwhelming, exhausting, and draining. Because it matters. It’s hard because these kids–whether they admit it or not–need me, need my coworkers, need the structure and guidance we try to provide. It’s hard because some of them have dealt with things I can’t even begin to fathom.
So. Here’s to year six. To sleepless nights. To cheering on my athletes, and praising my fine arts kids. To showing up, giving them my all and then some. To remembering to take care of myself too. To reading, arguing, writing, grading, and gallons of coffee.
Here we go.