Just wrapped up my first full week “on campus” and I AM EXHAUSTED!!!! And this is without 8th graders. So many moments these past five days have moved me to tears. Mostly recognizing the good fortune I have to work with three middle school administrators who “get it” and a superintendent who reminds us daily that we are respected, valued, and professional. Which means we have big work to do, from preparing our classrooms to understanding and putting into practice teaching that focuses on learners and learning. All echoing why I became a teacher — and why I’m still committed to it after 36 years.
But, oh my, is this work rigorous, intense, and putting me at the very edge of what I know (and don’t know). The technology piece alone could do me in (from learning how to use my ThinkPad to logging into the various systems everyone uses without thinking — OneNote, ShareFiles, PowerSchool, Atlas Rubicon, etc., etc., etc.). My brain is full . . . but so is my heart. I keep pinching myself for the gift of this experience. And for unexpected — and undeserved — pleasures (I’ll write about some of these soon). For the challenges of stepping into M126, a classroom that was “used” and not cleaned out by the former teacher, the philosophical “pinch” as I take down her bulletin boards with “cute” clip-art (all laminated, of course), the my-oh-my surprise as I scan the literature on the book-shelves I’ve acquired (from a teacher who expects 13 year olds will find Freakonomics or Oliver Twist or The Norton’s Anthology of Poetry pleasurable and riveting reading?). My work these next few years will not only force me to defend my teaching beliefs and choices, but offer opportunities to listen to what 13 year olds want, need, take delight in, and find simply too much nonsense for what they care about. My learning curve is already so steep, I’m close to teetering off. And yet, there’s something compelling and mighty exciting about living on the edge as a teacher. Which is just where I am. Exhausted and edgy. Friday night @ 9 p.m. and I’m headed to bed. Who’d have expected that from me?