According to Claudia Graziano, author of “Schools Out,” about 30 percent of all new teachers flee the teaching profession after only three years. (Source)
Some might be astounded by this statistic, and yet there have been days that I wouldn’t blame those 30 percent at all; I’d envied them. I’ve come home and cried, ate my weight in ice cream calories, brainstormed ways to include as many videos in my curriculum as possible, or when I would tell the students about another novel that we’re going to read, they’re all:
and yet I continued to show up, day in and day out. I wouldn’t have it any other way. This doesn’t make me any more or less committed than the other thousands of dedicated teachers, it just makes me human.
I’ve been blessed to work with some of the best young adults out there. I have yet to be chased out of the classroom by anyone under the age of 18. I’ve learned that the tear-inducing events in and out of my classroom six years ago make me smirk and chuckle to myself. “Good attempt, Champ. Now try it with someone who just fell off the turnip truck. We don’t buy crazy here. We’re all filled up.”
You wanna try to coerce me into allowing you to listen to your headphones because, “it makes you learn better and you won’t tell the principal”??? RIIIIIIIIIGHT. If you like music, you’ll love my playlists, kids! I’ll supply your little minds more Nirvana and Hits of the 90s than you could shake a stick at.
You’re gonna try and use your phone in class on the sly?
Feeling this sense of comfort has been INVALUABLE as I stood at attention at 7:45am, Monday morning. Despite sliding into the “Veteran Teacher” category of my career, there was no slowing down the velocity of those butterfly wings in my stomach on the first day of school. There were still 100+ sets of eyes judging me, sizing me up; determining if this year is going to be smooth or hell on earth. But I tried my best this week to utilize all those lessons I’ve learned over the past six years. I put aside curriculum and state standards for a whole week, exhausting my students’ ears with words like:
- Classroom Norms
- Respectful vs Disrespectful behavior and responses
- Mutual reverence
- Classroom Agreement
- I BELIEVE IN YOU!
We spent two and a half class periods deciding TOGETHER what the classroom norms would be. We talked about why it was important for them to know that I had my classroom rules, but they had a say as well. I broke it down class by class, then by the 9th grade as a whole. Monday we will all sign our Classroom Agreement, knowing that we will all hold each other accountable to abide by the norms that the student body felt was most important. I’m hoping that this extra time and dedication will pay off.
There isn’t one student I wouldn’t want to ever see again. I see all of their skill levels to be both challenging and inspiring to me. I cannot wait to jump into more curriculum-based work and kick off this school year with a bang.