So my life now begins in its new incarnation. I finally obtained a job, after long last and many interviews, as a teacher of special education in the Bronx. I was hired on Friday morning. It takes less than an hour for me to get there, which is better than the up to 2 hour commute I had with my last gig, and the staff seems nice enough. But once I was hired, I was shown my classroom, given a set of directions about how to set up my bulletin boards, and suddenly, with a rush of adrenaline fear and stress, I realized that I was completely overwhelmed. See, it’s not like getting hired at any normal job, where they train you and induct you into your new duties and responsibilities. At least, not this late in the game. Schools starts on Wednesday. That gave me Friday, and this upcoming Tuesday, to try to organize a classroom packed with junk that I don’t even know how to organize or use. As well as to plan my lessons and activities, establish a classroom management plan, and well, just about figure out every single component of how I will run my classroom. Which is kind of hard, since I haven’t ever run one before. And since I don’t even know what my curriculum will be, what my school’s policies are, what my schedule is, who my students are, etc, etc.
So I stood there, alone, in this massive classroom with no A/C, steaming in the sunlight, closets filled with dusty book after book, feeling adrenaline coursing through my system. I just had to start somewhere. So I started pulling stuff out of closets, dusting shelves, trying to figure out what I knew I could use and what I couldn’t. By the end of the day, after not having eaten anything and feeling completely lost out at sea, I finally took off for home, wishing I could have had 2 weeks to set it up instead of 2 days.
During the interview, the administration did its utmost to stress that the students I will have are the biggest behavior problems in the school. They wanted to make sure that I knew what I was getting into. Apparently, there’s a group of them that have established a reputation for creating havoc, cussing out adults, and running out of class. Apparently, simply getting them to come up from the cafeteria and into the classroom on time each morning is a victory.
But the reason I have elected to become a teacher is to be challenged. These are children who have been failed by the system. So they need me to be there for them, to see beyond their behaviors and diagnosed disabilities and into their hearts, to believe in them, and to push them to achieve. And at the end of the day, the only thing that I can possibly lose from the effort is my ego.
In any case, I’m going to be busy for the next few months just trying to keep my head above the water. So it’s a good thing I posted so frequently last month, because I won’t have much time anymore to do so. I will need to use this space for reflection and venting once I get into the swing of things, so keep checking back in, and I will do my best to continue to update. Wish me luck.