A Personal Story
One of the hardest experiences of my life was the first semester of teaching by myself from January to May of last year.
I say “by myself” because I also taught from September to December of 2017, but my sponsor teacher was always by my side to guide and support me every step of the way. She also helped me teach a couple of classes a day and provided constructive criticism.
I arrived at my new school mid year which meant my students had several substitutes before me. They weren’t used to structure. On top of all of this, my classroom management skills were at the rookiest level ever. Before I could get to the teaching part, I needed to manage the classroom effectively.
I’d interned at a school where getting A’s was expected, so we rarely had discipline problems. At my new job, I lost control of my classes multiple times. I felt like quitting my job on an almost daily basis because I was also struggling and juggling with everything required of teaching besides classroom management.
Some students hated me, and they told me in my face. They hated me because I gave the class the structure, rules, and expectations they weren’t used to. Some students came to class with no intention of completing work. Students talked back to me and tested me with their misbehavior.
You’re probably wondering how I pushed myself through all of this.
How I Pushed Myself
I knew that if I wanted to succeed, I would have to show up every day no matter what.
Every day brought a new set of challenges or a different combination of challenges. The more practice you have at overcoming the challenges, the easier it becomes to overcome them the next time around. You start becoming creative in the ways to overcome those challenges. You come up with solutions quicker.
I kept showing up to work despite having students who hated me and despite my failures. From experiences in my past, I knew that if I avoided the lesson of learning classroom management, had I decided to quit my job, the lesson would repeat until I faced it and learned from it sooner or later.
I’m a big believer in showing up to the challenges whether or not we feel like showing up. Fast forward to exactly one year later, and here I am no longer worried about classroom management. I faced and learned from my challenges and failures.
What I Learned
I learned to expect the support or answers I would need to overcome the challenge.
In other words, I started to believe that the help would be there when I needed it. When we show up despite the challenges we receive the support and answers we need.
I’ll never forget the day I was told I’d have a teacher assistant to help during the two classes I struggled with the most during the day. Ideally, I shouldn’t have needed one, but my supervisors knew that I was putting my best effort. They wanted to keep me, so they also wanted to help me stay.
On this particular day, I did a morning visualization meditation I’d found on YouTube. I rarely meditate in the mornings, but on this day I remember envisioning a smooth day at work, and, on this day, I received the support I needed.