My first year of teaching is coming to a close. Back in August, as I was anticipating a new job and the frightening possibilities that lay head, I realized one thing: Failing is not an option.
What if I don’t do a good job?
What if I’m a terrible teacher?
What if no one learns and none of the kids like me?
For weeks, these thoughts infiltrated my mind, and I secretly contemplated throwing my hands up and running away. No thanks, I’ll get another waitressing job. Cleaning job. Administrative assistant job. Anything that doesn’t scare me as much as this does.
But it was one of those things: I had a choice. Too often I find myself reeling with this sense that I don’t have control. I’ve always craved having the final say, controlling the situation; I blame being the oldest, along with my genes…But the truth is, we DO control a lot. We have the ability to press on, even when we fear a terrible outcome. I had the ability to work harder than I thought I could handle.
This year has been far from perfect. There is so much left to learn, and my second year of teaching will probably open my eyes to Just. How. Much. I’m excited to learn how to use each moment of class more effectively, how to explain concepts more clearly, and how to engage students in ways that fire them up to learn new things.
Saturday morning, I will be dressed in regalia, marching down a short aisle to celebrate the graduations of my senior Latin students. I will present two awards and talk about the hard work and skill of my class. They know how young I am, but they don’t know how close to their age I still feel.
I guess all of us have accomplished something pretty big this year.