Choosing to Ride

Today was not my favorite day. I taught a math lesson that just bombed. I tried my best, and I could not save it, for oh-so-many reasons some of which I’m still sorting out. The big thing though, is my own prep time. I never feel like I quite have enough, and I really never feel like I’m quite prepared when it comes time for math. The curriculum is not familiar, I always feel like I forget to prep something, or forget to prep something correctly, I feel like I have to consult my manual a million times throughout the lesson and as a result, there is nothing even vaguely resembling flow in my math class. I’m trying, but when push comes to shove, I know I’m failing.

I hate failing. I hate making mistakes, and more than anything, I hate feeling like I’m giving everything I have and I’m still failing. The reality though, is that this feeling of failure is the story of first-year-teaching… even if it’s just a first year in a new district. I knew what I was getting myself into when I changed schools, but it doesn’t make it any less challenging when push comes to shove.

So, I came home discouraged. I don’t have time to stay after school and prep this week, sometimes because my afternoons are filled with meetings, sometimes because I’m trying to have social plans, or exercise plans, or because I’m trying to sleep. I contemplated going back to school after my meeting this afternoon, but I was at the breaking point… I realized that what I needed more than anything, was an afternoon in my apartment, even if a few school books came with me. I spent the afternoon on my couch, watching TV, and otherwise vegging (well except for the 10-minute break during which I attempted half of Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred… I couldn’t quite get past that first 10 minutes, and my muscles STILL feel like jello!!). For the last three hours, I’ve been trying to convince myself that the best thing to do is look at my math book, to see how I can possibly do it better tomorrow. Because there IS a way to do it better… I just have to find it. I haven’t wanted to pick up the book though, because the feelings of inadequacy are too raw right now, and I fear that picking up the book will only make it worse. Yet then the rational side of my brain takes over. If I don’t pick up the book right now, if I don’t get back in the saddle, then the feelings of inadequacy will win. They’ll win tonight, and they’ll win tomorrow when another math lesson goes down the drain. So, despite what I feel right now, I’m choosing to get back in the saddle. I’m choosing to ride again, against that feeling of inadequacy, into the hope that better preparation will lead to a better tomorrow.

And slowly, I’m learning that failure is not the end of the world.

2 thoughts on “Choosing to Ride

  1. My sister is teaching English in South Korea. They make new teachers go through a week long prep course, practice teaching and then send them out to the schools. Her first teaching session she struggled and had a really hard time with late nights prepping and Korean students that didnt take her seriously cause she wasnt also Korean.

    Once she found her rhythm though and found ways of getting them to listen to her she found it much easier. The students still might not always take her seriously and she still faces challenges but she is better prepared to deal with them. This knowledge of course came after she had been there for 6 months.

    I am glad you arent giving up. I know you can get those kids to listen and learn from you.. and its math, can I say you are my new here. (I always was terrible at math). You’ll find your rhythm and youll look back on these days (somewhat) fondly 🙂

    • Thanks Adrrianne! I’m happy to report that the next day was better, and even thought my new method of preparation is going to take much more time each night, I at least left the week feeling good about the last two lessons I taught. It’s not going to be perfect, but it can at least be better than it was!!

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