A Breather before PARCC Testing

This year has been incredibly different. I have been teaching with a new team, learning how to prepare my students for the (possibly only) PARCC exam, taking on co-sponsorship of student council, and getting to know our new department head.

I am much more connected to the school through my teaching team, and although I enjoy the comaraderie of delving into new curriculum, I do miss the freedoms I had last year.

Although I was sometimes frustrated last year, I have been consistently reeling from constant change this year. It’s as though we are on a lake, tubing, and I barely know who is driving the boat, how big the lake is, and how long they will be driving or how long until I fall off. Did I mention it’s storming and I keep waiting for the lightning to hit?

I think the second year is when people think about quitting. I think new curriculum or teacher evaluations or a new format/battery of standardized testing is when people think about quitting. With great change, comes insecurity. I have questioned my abilities and then rallied for another week many times. I have grappled with not trusting people as a result of feeling as though I can’t trust them because they frequently change their minds, do not communicate in a way I am able to understand, and I am constantly failing their standards.

I know I am a good teacher. Or, at least, I know I have the capacity to teach well, but I know I’ve been missing the mark this year. My data isn’t working out. Some of my students are still failing. I don’t make nearly enough parent contact. I have not explicitly instructed in vocab. or kept track of the in-context instruction I do while we read. I have thoughtlessly vented over something work-related with the wrong person present. I have cried and/or gotten angry about life. I am clearly still a work in progress.

However, I persistently see the endless potential of my students to do well. I choose to give the benefit of the doubt when I don’t know something. I try to be helpful in making sure everyone (students and co-workers) has the materials they need to succeed, and I try to be mindful of the struggles and responsibilities they face outside of my room. I am blessed by the people who do care about me.

Most of all, this year comes down to my passion for helping students. Even with the craziness and constant change, I still love my students and my career. I will not be overcome, but will keep trying.

P.S. During spring break, I am going to try and post some materials I’ve used this year, PARCC-related and otherwise.

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