Ever have one of those days that’s over before it ever starts? Today’s been one of those. I hit my classroom almost literally running - trying hard to prep for the day before the students arrived. My weekend was too busy to work any at school so I was already behind. Before I could turn around it was lunch time and I had only covered half the material that I wanted to with the kids. Then suddenly the entire day was done, and I never even got around to teaching science.
It’s that season at school. The insanity of the spring semester in first grade is unbelievable. We are pushing hard every minute of every day to prepare for second grade. Every second I am regrouping and refocusing and trying to figure out how I can maximize the moment for learning. It requires high energy and lots of caffeine and leaves me absolutely exhausted by the end of the day.
This week is especially crazy. I have a meeting every day this week and special trainings and after school tutoring and parent conferences. Today I found out that I am going to be needed to administer the TAKS test next week. This is a first for me since I am a first grade teacher. I largely ignore the TAKS test and go about my merry way. However, we are short teachers in order to meet all the required accommodations, and so I am one of the chosen few who gets to help out. I don’t mind, I’m just a bit nervous about figuring out all the protocols involved and not screwing up. (And finding the time to get ready for a sub is a nightmare) The legalities and rules and regulations surrounding this event are amazing. Pretty sure the training will involve midnight meetings dancing around a bonfire chanting secret mantras and signing oaths in blood. After I complete the training, I will be qualified to see the President’s most top-secret documents. That’s the level of security involved in this mess. Like I can’t even go pee unless I take the tests with me. All of this so we can check to see if our students are mastering the basic skills needed for life. High-stakes testing. Kids are nervous, teachers stressed. It’s nuts. As in you can lose your teaching credentials and be charged with a felony if you screw up kind of nuts. But I don’t make the laws.
Where am I headed with all this? No where. I am just very overwhelmed with all that needs to be done. It is hard to not be stressed when your job needs more than the 12 to 14 hours you are already putting in. I don’t have any more hours in my day unless I totally eliminate sleeping. Don’t think that’s a possibility.
But there’s good stuff too….today a reading group had to move up another level. My kids learned to write complete sentences with punctuation over the weekend. They are blooming, and it’s beautiful. Kids that couldn’t read at the beginning of the year are reading their first easy chapter books. We’ve just about mastered adding two digit numbers and are making progress on learning how to count money. The kids are gaining maturity and learning self-control. They are getting better at tying their own shoes and using Kleenexes instead of eating their boogers. I can trust them alone for the 2 minutes it takes me to sprint down the hall and use the restroom if I can’t wait until lunch. This is the payoff for the huge stress of the spring semester. My students will be great readers and when they are old and reading the McDonalds menu….It’s my fault. I do that for them. So very rewarding. Exhausting, but rewarding.