Day 6 – Sadness

Today started with a great staff meeting about Cooperative Grouping structures and sharing and answering questions in small groups with other teachers.  I love the district I am in and the amazing teachers I have worked with for 14 years. Just sitting around the table this morning talking with teachers of all disciplines who are interested in trying something new in order to best reach their students, it’s a refreshing conversation and makes me excited.  I enjoy using cooperative groups in my classroom and have seen the benefits it brings to accountability for all students.

Overall today was a fine day, but it was overshadowed by my feelings of sadness.  I miss my friends, the people I have taught with for so many years who just get me.  Because of my position, I don’t really have lunch with anyone, so I’ve been eating by myself which obviously doesn’t help my feelings of sadness.  Lunch used to be fun, relaxing and a time to relax before heading off to teach, now I just sit at my desk and work through my lunch because I don’t know what else to do.  I know all of the math teachers in my new school because I have worked with many on committees over the years, but I don’t have the same lunch as any grade level really, so I can’t really crash their lunch and join in.

I am sad because I really miss the ins and outs of teaching, the planning, the organizing, the brainstorming with other teachers, making connections with students, etc.  Sure I have one class of 6th grade students  and I am co-teaching a 7th and 8th grade class, but this is sadly turning out to be the job that I was afraid it would be.  I don’t feel like I am doing any good or even really working much and it’s driving me insane.  I have another meeting on Friday along the topic about instructional coaching, which is something I am interested in…I used to think I wanted to teach teachers, but now I don’t even really know about that.  I’ve been offering my services and help to the math teachers, with the new technology program, to assist with grouping students, really anything…and no one is biting.  I can’t force them to want to allow me into their classroom, but what else am I supposed to do?  I keep decorating my classroom and my poor 6th grade students already thought there were enough posters on the walls! 🙂

With everything else going SO well in my personal life, this is really giving me a reality check.  I don’t have my Admin certificate because I knew a while back that I didn’t ever want to leave the classroom and this is just putting that into a clearer focus.  I need to be around teachers, students and interacting about math and teaching. I can’t figure out how to get that in my current position. I would love to be a district level PD person or math coach even, but I looked for those jobs this spring and couldn’t find anything. I am so afraid that I am going to wilt away and be this forgotten teacher who once taught math pretty well.

Yes, I am aware that these are all crazy thoughts, but it really consumed me today and here it is 9pm and I still haven’t gotten over it.  I know it will all be okay, at some point…but right now I am struggling to see the light, to see how I can continue to make a difference in the lives of my students and to help teachers in this new position of Math Specialist (also called Math Interventionist).  I wish there was more direction, like this is the job we want you to do and do it this way.  All of this freedom and do what you feel is best doesn’t work for me.  It’s my type A kicking in. 🙂

So I will breathe slowly, take a deep breath and try again tomorrow.  It’s a new day and can only get better.

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6 thoughts on “Day 6 – Sadness

  1. Hey Jessica,

    I’d say “Hang in there”, “It’ll be alright”, “Give it some time”, or many other cliche one-liners, but you know that already. This is my second semester being out of the classroom and I can tell you that the lunch table doesn’t get easier. The lack of relationships doesn’t get easier. The lack of feeling like a teacher doesn’t get easier. The only thing that has helped me in my new role as technology coach for our district has been the idea that I get to have a much greater impact on more kids than I could in the classroom. Because of what I’m doing to help teachers realize their potential and, in some cases, show them a thing or two, kids are benefitting.

    With all of that being said, I’m (just now) starting to build relationships. I’m starting to sit at lunch tables and have conversations. Granted, they aren’t the crazy ones that the guys in my old department used to share, but they’re meaningful. I’m starting to build friendships, not just professionally, with teachers at different sites who inspire me on a regular basis. I’m starting to feel like a teacher again and if feels really good.

    I’ve been roaming around our campuses and stopping by on prep times to see if there’s anything I can help with, maybe leave them with a “hey, have you heard about the new Desmos iPhone app?” along the way, just to let them know that I’m here to help. Does it make a difference with everyone? Nope. But everyone knows I’m trying. It’s harder to ignore the kid on the playground who’s trying to make friends.

    While I can’t say that the same will happen with you, it just might. Hang in there. It’ll be alright. Just give it some time. 🙂

  2. I am sorry you are feeling lost. I know a similar lost in that my team of math teachers is all new in my building and I miss my friends and what we had as our Professional Learning Community. I have great, excited new teachers to learn and grow with and new friendships will form. But, my sadness remains and I am sorry you are experiencing sadness too.

  3. There was a profession at my university when I was in undergrad, pre-service work who said that the first year of teaching you would “just be”. Just trying to stay afloat and find your place. The second year you would “become”. You become more confident because you have learned from your success and failure the previous year. It is the third year that you finally are able to say “I am”. You find yourself saying, “I am a teacher (or specialist)” and find yourself comfortable with where you are at in that moment of time.

    Every time I have switched positions, I have gone through these phases. This year is my third year at my current school and I am feeling comfortable in the new position. Give yourself some time to find your way.

    • Aww sorry you are feeling sad! Hope that the relationships start to form and that you can feel the “I am a teacher” feelings again. I felt a similarly when taking on IB coordinator and grade team leader responsibilities (which meant a reduced class load). I got more classes back this year after stopping the grade team leader stuff and I think it’ll be way more fulfilling.

      That’s so nice that you and your math colleagues ate lunch together. None of us at my school do…we all teach different grades so we don’t align, but I’m sad that I’m only now realizing that lunchtime collegiality is a thing I’ve been missing.

  4. I felt just like you, I became a math coach after 10 years teaching, and it only lasted 11 weeks. A teacher resigned yesterday and I volunteered to take over. I was honest with my principal and told him I am not really happy as a coach. It worked! I start teaching again in 1 day! I hope you find your way, for some reason teaching is such a vocation, that. If we don’t do what we are meant to do, we just feel sad and there is no way to cure it but to teach again. Thanks for sharing.

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