I’ve been reflecting lately about the many things I’ve had to start from scratch with after moving to a new place. Here’s a list.
- My age. I have had to tell several people that this is my 5th year of teaching, not my 1st. At my last job, I was the young one and the “new” one, and that was fine with me. One lady even commented, “They sure are making them young these days” when she found out I was a teacher, and I was probably flattered that she thought I looked more like I was 18 than 24. But, here, I want to be seen as a 5th year teacher. I really DO know what I’m doing (more often than not, that is). I want to be older! Assuredly, my current students don’t sway my opinion on my age either way. One told me he thought I was about 40, but then today at our Forensics meet, a kid came up and asked me if I broke finals in Prose. Eh, kids. Love them!
- Forensics. I ‘ve had to start all over. It’s been a challenge. The biggest thing to work on is convincing kids that it can be a team sport where we take a full team and compete to WIN meets, and stay at the meet all day and support each other, etc. My assistant coach helped me facilitate that better at my last job. I’m all on my own here. So, next year, I’m going to try to promote more of a “team” mindset. But first . . .
- Forensics Practice. NOW I remember my first year of teaching, when I wanted to ditch this whole Forensics coaching gig because who cares about Forensics? It was because the process of building a team takes serious work. And, lots of nagging, getting kids to come in and practice. No different here! :) I hope students saw how much fun it can be this year, so they’ll put more effort in next year. Forensics is truly one of those activities that is only as good as the kids want it to be. I am confident that I can take them to a high level of competition, but they have to take the initiative to come in and work.
- Classroom Climate. I had a solid system and rapport in place with my students by year three at my last job. This year, I would change many things about the proverbial foot I started out on. It wasn’t the wrong foot. It was just the foot that seems to have a little sprain in it. Sometimes I tell myself, “I shouldn’t have said that.” Or “This is getting us nowhere.” Or “Too much personal information.” The tricky thing about establishing that system and rapport here is that I won’t have the same group of students next year. But, I can always count on my favorite motto in teaching: “It’ll be better next year!”
- Friends. I dearly miss my Com. Co. friends. Of course, I knew this was coming. I very clearly remember the first year on the job with virtually no friends to hang out with. It’s just that this time around, I’m much less patient. After all, I’m not working non-stop with lesson plans and prep every night. I have more time to be impatient about finding friends and settling in.
- Community. I LOVE people. Always have. They intrigue me. Especially when groups of them are interconnected in small communities. I am starting to figure out family connections here just like I did in Com. Co. However, it doesn’t seem to be as simple. The communities aren’t as close-knit as the county-wide community I came from. It’s not bad. Just different. Honestly, I have more anonymity here, which I am enjoying.
- Church. When I started going to Antioch five years ago, I would get butterflies before walking into the church and then leave right away at the end of the service. That is, until I got to know people. :) Wonderful people with fantastic hugs for me every Sunday! :) Now, at the city church I’m attending, one of my pastor’s wives (who has been very warm and welcoming towards me) has finally convinced me to stop darting out at the end of the service, and stick around and talk to people instead. I also joined their small group. It’s getting better. But, it is definitely different. A much larger church in a city with many people I don’t know. It will take time.