My feet hurt, my voice felt pretty worn down from talking all day, and I was very tired. But damn, does it feel good to be a second year teacher.
Those were my first thoughts after finishing school yesterday. The days prior to yesterday felt suspiciously neutral. It almost felt as though I wasn’t really going to teach, even while I was preparing for it. Last year was so incredibly impactful and powerful of an experience that it felt singular. Last year, my first year of teaching, felt like it was the only group of students that I could ever have because it was that intense of an experience. I couldn’t picture new tiny bodies in those seats, or new interactions with students I didn’t know. I also vividly remembered the (literal) sweat, blood, and tears of the prior year: I didn’t feel quite as pumped up and prepped for this year quite yet.
“It is so much better,” I thought during happy hour after school. “It is so much better. It will not always feel this way, and I will, I’m sure, soon have days that make me grit my teeth and question this job. When that day comes, I’ll have to remember this feeling, because this year is definitely going to be smoother than last year.”
Fast forward to Day Two: it already did not feel as epically smooth, flawless, and expertly taught as Day One.
Boy, oh, boy, was Day Two different. Everything was off. Everything was frantic. I’d told every class that their seating charts would be ready by the second day and, having severely underestimated the time that would take, I completely bullshitted the seating charts (except for the five minute glance towards who was listed as ADHD). I skimmed, I mean really skimmed, my lesson before first period began. The kids I expected to be problems were not problems; the kids I did not suspect became issue centers in class. I taught two lessons back-to-back before running to the field to stand guard over a surprisingly entertaining soccer game before running back to my next class and then spending the next class rationing my water so that I wouldn’t have to pee in the middle of teaching. I passed out the wrong handout to the entire class, had to collect that handout, then pass out the correct handout. I spent the day in a series of walking five steps out of a door before realizing I’d forgotten something and spinning back into whatever room. One kid ran into my classroom during the wrong period and tried to hide his mistake by pretending he wanted a morning hug (dear god, please, no, no physical contact on day two before I even know your name). My right pinky toe started hurting.
With all that, it was not a bad day. Not really. But man, teaching really has a way of knocking you on your butt after you are cocky enough to think you’ve got it down. At some point this afternoon I just found myself laughing silently at Yesterday Torey for her silly illusion that she’d have it all together this year. Yesterday Torey, you sweet, sweet nincompoop. Tomorrow Torey: remember this, humble yourself, and try to work a little smarter next week.