Perspectives from a First Year Teacher: Growing and Balancing Inside and Outside the Classroom.

Jacquelyn Sehring is a proud graduate of Illinois State-Class of 2013! She is a Pre-Kindergarten Teacher in Peoria Illinois.

I was fortunate enough to be hired for a position at a local Catholic grade school in Peoria. I have been the lead teacher of 22 darling pre-k students.  Now I say darling with caution because sometimes they just aren’t so cute.  It has been a whirl wind of emotions being out and teaching for the first time.

The summer preparing was overwhelming to say the least.  I walked into a room with stuff piled up to the ceiling and no idea where to start.  I would come into school for a few hours at a time and spent most of it curled up in the corner about to have a panic attack.  It’s every graduates dream to have their own room, but certainly not in the shape that mine was in.  I learned quickly that this whole teaching gig was going to have to be a family affair.  Luckily for me, I have the world’s greatest parents and other half.  They came to school just as much as I did and calmed me down when they saw the panic being to take over. After putting in blood, sweat, and A LOT of tears, the room was ready just in time for kids to walk in.

My first day seemed to only last an hour.  Getting to know the kids, parents, the routine of a new school made time fly at a speed I didn’t even know existed.  I was thrilled that by the end of the day all the kids and myself had survived.  Now that it’s February and we have settled into our routine, some days don’t go quite as fast. In fact, it’s sometimes amazing how long one single day can feel.

As much as I love my kids and spending my days with them, I figured out that I have to deal with a whole lot more than teaching them.  I have had both positive and negative run-ins with parents, staff, and administration.  Being the passionate person I am, I take the negative situations to heart a little harder than the positives make me smile.  I have been trying my best to keep everyone happy but that seems to have to be at my expense.  There have been days that I just didn’t want to come to work.  It’s heartbreaking to feel that way after working as hard as I have to get to where I am.  I feel that ISU taught me so much and I want to use all the tools I’ve been given, but sometimes, my environment just doesn’t allow me to.  This kinda makes me want to pull my hair out. I am trying so hard to do what I know is best for kids, but when I’m just a kid and I have parents and administration against me, what am I supposed to do? I guess just put on my happy face and do as much as I can for my kids in my room.

I’ve found that I have a big internal struggle with being an adult.  I mean I am surrounded by adults, but that’s not me! I’m only 22 years old.  That’s a baby! I still quite haven’t found my pair of grown up pants.  I’m not sure if you ever feel like an adult as a teacher.  I mean I have an apartment, 2 jobs, I’m pursuing my masters, and I’m a mom to the most adorable puppy.  All signs point to adult, but I’m just not there yet.  Maybe next year!

I hope that this post can bring you all back to your first years of teaching and you are filled with the happiness, anxiety, fear, and joy that I seem to run through each day!

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