So ok, I can't sleep what with all of this packing, moving, and unpacking going on, so I guess I'll post a blog. I said earlier that I hadn’t posted anything from the past four months, so today is your lucky day! Where oh where, should I begin?!?
Some background information to help you understand:
roommate = Sarah
principal = Kate
new principal = Amanda
friends (here) = Tasha, Kayla, Amber, John (Amber’s husband), Sue
friends (not here) = Phil (boy I thought I was crazy for), Kara (teacher friend in another state), & Ingrid (bff from high school, also located in yet a different state)
Ok, so this month was a wee bit stressful. I was very sick for the first part of the month and this did not make teaching easy. I had a horrid cough that crept up every time I tried to speak, and I felt absolutely awful in more ways than one. The roommate (Sarah) was mad at me because she thought that all of “our” friends like me way better than her, so she spent much of this month being cranky and rude. I seriously contemplated moving out, but with absolutely no options and no money (I’m a teacher, remember?), that was not feasible. I also had a ton of work-related stress, as my principal (Kate) made me feel inadequate nearly every minute of every day that I was at school. It started when one of the second grade teachers told Sarah that she and I were on the “hit list” this year. Now, let me explain the “hit list.” Last year, Kate sort of targeted two second-year teachers. She hassled them, made them feel awful, and then asked them not to return when they had their final review in May. Also, let me tell you that Sarah wears her heart on her sleeve-and I mean fully exposed. She takes everything to heart and this can get a bit messy. So anyway, I get home from school one day and she says something like “Such-and-such told me that you and I are on the hit list this year, and the principal was in my room ALL day today.” So naturally, as a female, in my head, I was like ‘yeah right, just because she was in your room all day does not mean that she’s out to get us.’ And I went on with things…boy, did I ever underestimate the power of badgering. From the next week on, Kate shared the duty of “visiting” (a.k.a. observing our every move) both mine and Sarah’s classrooms, making us feel inferior and useless. I called my parents hysterically crying basically every day and worked on lesson plans and school stuff for every single minute of every single day. Even on weekends. One day during guided reading in first grade (my room, with 12 students), you would have had the pleasure of seeing the Reading Specialist, Sarah (principal), Lead Teacher (think Assistant principal), and Mentor “observe” me. This nonsense continued to stress me to the max until October, but then (hallelujah) Sarah took another job and we were “principal-less,” which deemed the Lead Teacher in charge. I thought that this was amazing.
So principal is gone. Sweet, wonderful, fantastic Lead Teacher is in charge. I continue to be stressed, but it is a fraction of the amount that I was stressed when we had a principal. I had a really nice time during October. In fact, I dressed up as my favorite book character, Junie B. Jones, for Halloween. It was amazing. I loved my kids, and I could see major improvements in my teaching and their learning. I was so happy with the positive things going on in my classroom, and the fact that I didn’t have so many people breathing down my neck. Seriously, it was the best. But then, I realized something that made me feel really, really thankful, but really, really bad at the same time.
The district hired another principal in November, but she wasn’t able to start until after Thanksgiving because she had to finish out a 30 day notice as an Assistant principal in a neighboring district. So…I was still feeling really good about how well my students were learning and how well I seemed to be teaching. It was like magic! So this is what I realized: Throughout all of that stress of worrying about why all those “experts” were observing me EVERY day, I didn’t even let the thought that they might have just been trying to make me a BETTER teacher! It was like a major light bulb went off in my head. I was a better teacher because of all the extra work I had put in and all that stressing! Oh my GOSH, I couldn’t believe it. And what I didn’t mention, is that principal (Kate) took a promotion at Central Services in our district. Conveniently, I live right behind Central Services, so one day just after I’d realized that she had been molding me into a much better educator, I walked myself over to her office. This was right before Thanksgiving, and I did not find her in her office. Instead, she was in a meeting. She saw me in the hall and came right out to me. And this is what I said to her: “Kate, I have a confession to make.” To which she worriedly replied “Oh, ok, what is it?” This was my response “I was so busy stressing out when you were in and out of my room and all that last month, that I didn’t realize what you might have been doing. Although I couldn’t see it at the time, you helped make me a better teacher. I see my students understanding my expectations because of the way I present them, and I am seeing so much more learning in my classroom. My teaching is so much better and so much more clear! So thank you.” The next thing will knock your socks off, SHE HUGGED ME! And said, a little choked up, “Megan, I am so proud of you. Thank you so much.” It was such a huge revelation to me, and all I can say is this, things are not always how they seem. I assumed that she was trying to make me look bad and maybe she was, but every bit of stress and worry helped me to grow immensely as an educator, and I am super thankful for that.
About this time, I was feeling really sad because I thought I wouldn’t be able to afford to go home for Thanksgiving, and I hadn’t seen my family since early August. God answered my prayers less than a week before Thanksgiving break. One afternoon, another teacher and I were having a little heart-to-heart because she thought I was upset with her. I wasn’t, but it was nice to have a heart-to-heart…and she asked whether I had decided on going home for the holiday, to which I replied “No, I can’t afford it.” (Just a side-note here, my parents also can not afford to pay for a trip home either, because Dad was laid off for the last year). The next morning, she came into my classroom and said “Megan, I couldn’t sleep last night and so I asked God what He needed from me. He brought to mind my first semester of college. My mom had breast cancer then, and I was all registered for classes, but a family friend had to take me to campus to pay for everything. When we got there, I couldn’t help but worry to myself about how I could not afford even one class, let alone a full load. When our friend and I got up to the counter to pay, my friend said “I talked to my husband last night, and we know you can’t afford to go to college. We’d like to pay for your first year.” and she and her husband paid for my first year in college, so immediately I knew what God wanted from me, take this.” And she handed me an envelope with a card in it. I opened the card, and inside was enough money for me to drive all 16 hours home AND back. YAY for my being able to be with my family! Isn’t God amazing?!? Then, the next morning, I found another card in my mailbox at school. It was from our darling secretary. She had recently asked me whether my Dad had gotten a job, and he hadn’t, plus I was feeling very upset about the idea of spending Thanksgiving alone in this small town, mainly because I just missed my family. Well, inside the card was a check, and the card said this “Megan, maybe you and your Mom can have lunch on me. Just the two of you. Love you! I even talked to my hubby about it!” OH. MY. GOSH. The Lord loves me! I can’t tell you how emotional those two days were for me. Wow! So, I drove the 16 hour journey home in one day…to my family for Thanksgiving.
Came back to the south to teach first grade…December was a breeze. We only had three weeks worth of school, so that was a nice thought as we gradually crept closer to my two-week vacation up north with my family (again!). Sarah and I attempted to trek home as soon as we were permitted to leave school on Friday. We got about what normally would have been two hours from our little home, but was three, due to a winter storm…maybe you can recall the one? Well, Sarah and I were stuck in MAYBERRY, NC for TWO DAYS. In a HOTEL. Need I mention again that I AM A TEACHER!?! I do NOT have ANY extra money for a HOTEL. And then, to top it off, the second day, Sarah was sick; miserable with the flu. Needless to say, although it was an incredible inconvenience, I had fun exploring the area. I visited many sites from The Andy Griffiths Show and took many photos of the interesting things I encountered. I would be happy to accept you on facebook if you’d like to see my photos.
AND…I will blog about Christmas break and the new principal later gator. Night all, I’m out.