On Teaching.

"On Being New At This. And Feeling Like I'm Terrible At It."

So, I have a feeling this is going to flow pretty stream of consciousness-style. You've been warned. 

I am a teacher. I feel pretty okay about the job I do most days. Today is not one of those days. 

I had such a rough afternoon, and I think part of the issue is that I didn't see it coming; like, when you wake up and think, "Yep. Today, I got this." and then you get to where you're going and then it's pretty much exactly the opposite of what you thought would happen. Which, really, that's not even fair. I had a good morning. Everything was going normally, and we were doing a fun writing thing on the iPads that I was really excited about, which the kids really had fun with and I had fun hearing each of their crazy mythological creature stories. 

Then, at some point today (because that's how this works: I remember almost everything that happens in a day, but if it's not in the context of one of my 7 periods when I have a class, I couldn't tell you when it happened) I scheduled my formal observation [huge deal] for the beginning of the next six weeks, and also went ahead and got the video camera to tape myself teaching. This morning. BOOM. I remembered when all of this happened! Nailed it! (and this is also how it works--just randomly in the middle of a thought, I'll remember when it happened. Magic.) Naive Jessie thought, 'Oh, sure! This will be great! I'll just go ahead and video the two classes I have the most trouble with! This will be helpful for me to see what's really happening from another point of view, and also watch myself handle not-so-great situations, to see if they're effective or if I'm coming across the way I want to come across!! Super!' 

Turns out, watching yourself on video, teaching, is not a super fun experience.

Here, I'd like to sidebar and just say a few unrelated things:

  1. I genuinely do not like the way my voice sounds. Now, I know I'm not breaking any new, undiscovered, self-depricating ground here, but my goodness. This is serious. I guess I just haven't changed my voicemail message in a long time and have forgotten what my voice sounds like to everyone but me, but ohhhhh boy. Yikes. I had this conversation with several co-workers today. I really don't know why people talk to me knowing I'm going to talk back. I do not care for the sound of my voice. So, today begins the Jessie-Talking-Less initiative. 
  2. I wore my jeans cuffed today, because sometimes, that's just how I roll. Hah. Pun. Anyway, I saw on the video that one of the pant legs came unrolled at some point in the morning, so I walked around with a half-rolled pant leg most of the morning and all afternoon. Thanks, 13-year-olds, for informing me of my disheveled appearance. Normally it's like your favorite pass-time! 

Okay, besides that, the good news about watching the not great classes on tape is that I learned there isn't a whole lot happening that I don't see going on. I'm gonna celebrate that, because it's worth celebrating. I try to be pretty aware of the goings on in my room, and according to both recordings, I do a pretty good job at that. However, as infuriating as the misbehavior was to witness the first time around, let me tell you, it wasn't a picnic watching it happen again on video. I watched it a couple times. First, watching me, what I was saying, how I was saying it, how long I took [much too long] to lecture one of the classes. Oopsie. Then I watched it, just watching the kids, and I saw that same thing I remember seeing as it was happening. Carefree, oblivious to my corrections as things were going on, but like a puppy in trouble as I was lecturing [for too long]. 

If you, for some reason, are still reading this, I feel so frustrated. 

I want desperately to be better at my job. I can think of ways to fix the problems I'm having, but 1. Don't know if they'll really work, which I know the only way to find out is to try, and 2. Feel like it's a huge risk to just take class time to try different classroom management things when the STAAR test is 8 weeks away. Eight. Weeks. Mhmm. And 3. Feel foolish for having to figure this out in stinkin' February. C'mon Cayton. 

So, yep. That's where I am today. Not super fantastic. Hopeful that tomorrow is a better day. Aware that I am expecting myself to be great a this immediately. Knowing that's not really how this (or anything) works. So, yeah. 

If you couldn't tell already, a goal for this whole me blogging version 2.0 is transparency and honesty. This here is what that looks like today. I swear it's not always a bummer. 

Also, I feel like I should tell you I had this whole plan for a witty, light-hearted return post explaining my hiatus [there isn't a good one] and updating my audience [ha.] on how life had changed since I last wrote in 2010. Maybe that post is coming, but since I live alone these days, and mom can only listen to my weepy-rationalizing on the phone for so long (because, really, how much can one woman take?!) this blog is where these thoughts have found themselves. If anyone's reading, I'm glad you are.

I'm here. You're here. This could work out. 

Oh, and I just got my brand new Rewined candle in this evening, and the first thing I did was unwrap it, light it, and take a picture, duh. You can also find out more about Rewined candles here, where I first heard about them just a couple of weeks ago. She does a much better job talking about them. And taking pictures of them. 


I ordered the Champagne flavored one and I'm in love. I looove the smell. And the way it looks. And just everything about it. Get one!

Until next time.