Early on in my student teaching, a veteran teacher told me to “be careful”. She said “this job can easily consume you and before you know it, you’ve wasted more time than you should have.” For a while, I kept that in the back of my mind. I approached with some caution. I quickly found out that teaching is much more than a full time job. There’s never enough time and always too much to do. It creates this feeling of inadequacy, never doing enough or being good enough.
Luckily, I’ve learned that these feelings are natural in education. We can’t do it all. Over the years, I’ve dedicated more and more time to becoming a better ELA teacher for my students. I’ve spent summers reading education books, young adult novels, articles/blogs from other educators, and even trying to gamify my class. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time trying to grow/learn, but is it too much time? Some nights I spend close to 3 hours on school related things, outside of school. I frequently return back to what that teacher told me almost 5 years ago. Am I letting this job consume me? Is it getting in the way of other things in my life?
For now, the answer is no. I thoroughly enjoy being an educator, more so than anything else in my life. We live in a world in which too many people dislike/hate their jobs. Whether they get into their career for the money or because of carelessness, most people get “stuck” doing something they don’t enjoy. I look forward to going into work every day. I look forward to creating learning experiences for my students and then trying them out.
So much of my prep as an ELA teacher involves reading books and sharing out to my students, or writing a story/poem/essay/etc and using it in class. I view my planning as a puzzle. How can I make class more engaging? How can I give students more choice? How can I make sure they are actually learning? How can I show they the importance of reading and writing? With time constraints and the unpredictable environment, things become frustrating at times. Some days, I want to quit and give up, but I don’t. I can’t. I’m an educator. I’m in a position to give back every single day. I’m able to learn with a group of awesome students for 180 (ish) days.