Oh gods what have I done?!

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I don’t know if the title of this post refers more to starting this blog or to choosing teaching in general. Lord knows the week I’m supposed to be doing initial planning and classroom set-up is not the opportune time to dedicate myself to documenting the experience. But I hope that in five years when I look back at this I’m going to have all sorts of memories invading like an air raid.

An Introduction: I am two and a half weeks away from my first day of school as a full-fledged math teacher in front of my own classroom. I graduated way back in the halcyon days of 2005 from a small, private institution for higher education with a BS in Electrical Engineering and minors in Math and Philosophy. I was so unhappy when I graduated that I decided to take some time for myself. I started substituting in my old school district in the fall, and then heard of an opportunity to teach English in Japan for a year. Of course I took it (it makes me sad that someone wouldn’t), and one year turned into two. I decided at that point I had to come back and do something real with my life despite still hating engineering, so I got into IT reselling through the USAID program. That was a ridiculous situation all around for a number of reasons best shared over several beers, but I did it for four years before hating that enough to look for teaching jobs. I found an amazing alt-cert program in New York City so I left my little apartment in the DC suburbs and moved up here. A year of grad school and student teaching later and here we are.

I am teaching math (specifically Algebra 1) to a bunch of 9th graders in Manhattan. I’m at a brand new school with a focus on preparing students for college and/or a career in a specific global industry. Our school is super small (only around 90 students total) and we’re shoe-horned into a corner of a much larger building. I’m basically the entire math team, but I have some pretty great supports in place.

I’m writing this blog partly because my friend Sam told me it was an amazing and enriching experience. He’s linked me to a number of other teaching blogs and I’ve already gotten so much out of them without ever being in front of students, and I’m hoping that will continue. And I want a place where I can post about struggles I’m having and get valuable feedback.

I’m also writing because I want to document this leg of my life journey or whatever the hell it’s called. I want to document my successes and failures, and as I said in the first paragraph, I want to look back on this in five years with my friends and go “Well that was a shitshow” and we’ll laugh and laugh. But I also want to remind myself of all my victories as the year goes on. When I’m halfway through January and convinced my kids will never pass anything ever again, I want to be able to look back a month and know all hope is not lost. At least not in January. Maybe if it’s still happening in March we’ll revisit.

In the past I’ve been awful about updating blogs. Absolutely and completely terrible. I make no promises about updating this. The WordPress app and my hour commute are in my favor, but we’ll see how this goes. For now though I’m dedicated and that’s certainly a start. It should be enough for me to play around with the layout for a bit. 

One quick thing: I have a twitter but it’s currently locked for privacy’s sake. Basically I complain about a lot of things and I don’t want the world to see that. For now I’m planning on keeping this public. But to that end, I’m planning on being kind of anonymous. Granted I’ll link it to my Facebook and Twitter, so people from there will know me, but I’m hoping to keep things fairly ambiguous on the whole. I think my situation is slightly unique so that may not be so easy, but it is the goal. I apologize in advance if that leads to some strange grammar and weird posts. 

I should have used the time I spent writing this planning out my first unit, so I’m going to get on that now.  

 

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9 thoughts on “Oh gods what have I done?!

  1. “Lord knows the week I’m supposed to be doing initial planning and classroom set-up is not the opportune time to dedicate myself to documenting the experience.”

    You know me — I think it is PRECISELY the opportune time to document the experience. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll be helping new teachers and you can point them to your thought process… and how AWESOME or AWFUL it was…

    Good luck with the start of the year, and the keeping on with the blog… I look forward to your writings.

    Sam

  2. Teaching math is great! I hope you have a fantastic first year. Having Sam in your corner is definitely a good move. And if you are feeling overwhelmed let the MTBoS help out. We are only a tweet away!

  3. Welcome! I liked you at “beer” and you had me at “shitshow”. I love that you’ve chosen education and I promise that Sam was right to tell you to blog. I also get the anonymity thing and I’m right there with you. Twitter/blogging helped me through some crazy stuff.

    If you need anything, please ask. We are such a helpful crew, especially with new teachers. If you feel led, join/start conversations on Twitter! I don’t contribute much mathematically, but the MTBoS is awesome to me anyway and I love them for it.

    And maaaaaybe in the summer you’ll join us in (city yet to be determined) for TMC14!

    So please give me a holla on the Twittah. I look forward to talking to ya.

  4. One of the most important things is to use your time as you see fit. If you need or want to have some time to blog, do it. If you need to take a day of recovery somewhere along the line, do it. Other stuff will get done, one way or another. You’re of no use to anyone if you’re a head case!

    Of course, for all I know, you have a sense of that already from teaching in Japan. By the way, as an anime fan who ended up reading more about the culture afterwards, wow. The comparisons might actually be really interesting, if you’re trying to find a hook. All the best!

    Hm, Sam suggested tossing in a joke…
    There are 10 types of people in the world! Those who understand binary, those who don’t, and those who accept that statement in base 3.

  5. Welcome to the Math TwitterBlogoSphere!! (MTBoS). Good luck in your first year. Don’t hesitate to shout when you need something. I’m starting my first year as well and the folks in the MTBoS have saved my bacon on many occasions already through student and substitute teaching!

  6. “But I also want to remind myself of all my victories as the year goes on.” Best line of this post. It will get you through your first year more easily. Brilliant.

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