Toy Story but for adult toys. The main characters are still named Woody and Buzz.
It has taken: a car accident, two failed relationships, too many tears, career crises, and 4-5 years to get to this point.
I finished school at the worst possible time, economically. The district was in a hiring freeze, good teachers were getting RIF’d, and I was fresh out of school with “no” experience (because student teaching “doesn’t count”). I was advised to teach English in a foreign country, or get my Master’s degree, to “be patient.” I managed to obtain jobs within the education field, being paid peanuts for tutoring and substitute services. At each school location, I started to tell my story to anyone who would listen. Several people said I should quit and find another career. Their callous comments made me want to persevere.
I hate to admit that I’ve spent nights contemplating my career choice, when the odds always seemed stacked against me. My dissatisfaction with subbing (because it’s not full time position) contributed to the end of a three year relationship; the stress of this past semester’s long term sub assignment also led to a break-up.
Last December, I had a car accident on the way to my substitute interview at Beaudry. Despite my tardiness and the craziness of the situation, the interview and demo lesson went off without a hitch and I was processed/hired that day.
This journey has been long, painful, and rewarding. I can finally begin my career, instead of in fits and starts, one step forward, two steps back.
Though I still consider myself a “baby teacher,” I know I have plenty of prior experience to help me begin this new school year. If teaching has taught me anything, it’s that teachers learn alongside the students, and that is a beautiful thing.
Day 6 (yesterday): Disastrous. I could barely hold my tears back during PD. The lead teachers had meetings until the evening, so for the first time, I felt truly on my own. Calling upon my network of teaching friends and relatives for advice is only somewhat comforting. I didn’t want to make it a “me” vs. “them,” but it certainly felt like it yesterday.
Day 7 (today): Went in like a hard-ass and informed the students they had to complete an in class essay by the end of the period. I set up the worksheet to give them easy points but they had to do all of the pre-writing AND complete the essay to earn full credit. Surprisingly, most classes began to settle down and take it seriously. “But Miss, what if we can’t finish?!” “Keep working until the end of class.” Of course, I let them complete it for homework. If I don’t get it from them tomorrow, then they’re losing points.
“Please say my full name.”
“Excuse me, Miss Hohmann, I need your help.”
“Yes, what can I help you with?”
Only one girl in 6th period completely refused to do the assignment.
Whittling away at learned helplessness/attitude/bad habits; providing structure; being thrown feet first into a pool and trying to keep my head above water. This is one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do in my life. But I have a room. I’m starting to feel like a real teacher again. I have faculty support. I’m learning as the students are, and sometimes that can be a wonderful thing.
I am so grateful to my boyfriend, friends, and relatives for their support the past few days.
Hey I've seen you on the sub tag. I have a method that has helped me at some troublesome schools. If the kids get 2 warnings I make them write their name and how they can act better on an index card. If they shape up I give them the card back to destroy/toss and no trouble comes of it. If they continue, they are sent to the office and the teacher gets their card for the day to know it was 3 strikes already against the student. I find this straightens up the "just chatty" kids.
Thanks! I might have to use this, Though it might seem a little elementary for high schoolers, I could try to “scare” them. :)
"I want to improve my comprehension skills."
“A weakness is reading. I have trouble understanding what’s going on in the story.”
“I don’t like when the teacher is rude because I get disrespectful. My weakest area is to read a book I’m not interested in.”
“I’ve only had one English teacher that made me like English and made it seem so easy.”
“My weakest area is reading because I don’t really sound out the words I can’t pronounce. I can give up easily and skip it.”
In order to be a successful student, I need the class to be quiet.”
“I don’t feel comfortable speaking in class especially when they keep changing the damn teachers.”
“I would like to learn more poetry. I actually think it’s cool that you like poetry.”
So exhausted I could barely function. Nothing particularly special or disastrous happened, which I guess is a good thing. I thought the afternoon classes might be combative; instead, they were sleepy and unresponsive. 6th was better than yesterday. One problem student behaved much better today; less talking out of turn or challenging my authority. He did say, loud enough for everyone to hear, “Miss, why you gotta rat me out to my [homeroom] teacher??” I was losing my voice but keeping my tone even when trying to redirect the students’ focus. (Better than everyone ignoring me completely.) Small victories.
After school, the principal said with a smile, “So you’re coming back next week?” I think the faculty is impressed I didn’t completely fall apart/run out of the school screaming.
Students are starting to greet me as they walk in. A few actually called me “Miss Hohmann,” and almost spelled my correctly! A good attitude is contagious. I’m trying my damnedest to remember every hour is a fresh start, as is each day.
I hope to feel more rejuvenated and excited after shopping for classroom posters and supplies this weekend.