Term one has officially been over for a week now and so how is life as a teacher treating me?
I have to admit, right off the bat, that I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I do. Even with the frustration of the hundred million questions that I get every single day all day long, I still love it. The kids are super cute and I love watching them learn.
When I started I was very unsure of myself. I felt like a fraud. I really truly did! To my knowledge they didn’t call any of my references, just took the folder I gave them with letters of reference and my placement reviews from teacher’s college (from six years ago). I didn’t think I had it in me to teach. Or that being away from a proper classroom for four years somehow disqualified all my previous education making me unfit to teach.
September was hard. As it is for any teacher. I made the mistake of not having a structured first week and it was very difficult to get the kids back on track after that. I still appreciate the things I learned from that first week, but next year it will definitely need to be better.
I work for a small private school. It’s a religious school, and specific to one language and culture. Which I am slowly learning little bits about. I’m picking up a few words here and there, and the customs and ways of doing things. The religious side is Christian so I’m all good with that. I have told myself and made up my mind that I will NEVER work in the public board in Ontario. Absolutely not. But those reasons are for another post.
Because this school is so niche, the major downfall is the pay. I’m not getting paid as much as I would anywhere else, but it’s enough to keep me on top of my bills and maybe just a little extra each month. It’s good because then I’m not out spending like crazy on things I don’t need, but sometimes it’s also a little tight.
But this school is amazing. The other teachers have been so supportive and loving and welcoming. If I have a question, they are more than willing to offer advice and help me out. They all know this is my first year teaching and that I’ve had a break from the school system for a while. Because it is a language school, the kids switch teachers at lunch time – half the day with English instruction and half in their other language. So I am a co-teacher with the other grade two teacher, whom I love so much! We don’t plan together or anything but we are a support for each other and she has been amazing.
I never knew I would love working in a religious school so much. We pray the Lord’s prayer every morning and pray before lunch (both not in English but the kids help out) and we are able to freely speak about God in the classrooms. It’s amazing to help answer questions about both the children’s lives and the lives of others because I am teaching traditions from other cultures.
The parents, for the most part, have been very supportive as well. There have been a few miscommunications, and very frustrating requests from them, but I have adapted as much as I can and am finding that I am building lots of good relationships with them. It’s been lovely to feel that sense of community while being an outsider. I have heard from them, and from the vice principal, that they are wanting me to stay next year and I definitely plan on it. I want to stay. I wish I could earn like a LOT more money but I also understand the financial restrictions placed on such a small community school. So my plan is to stay at least two full school years if they renew my contract at the end of the year (which my co-teacher says they definitely will).
As we round out November, I feel like I have found my groove and am finally getting settled and not feeling like I’m stressing all day long. There have definitely been a few bumps in the road but overall I can say that I am very happy. The kids are finally getting used to the routines and expectations for them, and after being a little bit mean about a few things, my classroom is finally working as I want it to/as it should.