The First Day - Don't Quit

Last week, I contemplated quitting my student teaching internship. I paced around my apartment with tears pooling in my eyes, trying to figure out an alternate route - one that didn't involve snarky children, judgmental teachers, and a lifelong career that would drain me every single day. I thought abut switching my Psychology minor to my major, and making my 5th year into a 6th year (yes, I was considering being a super super senior). I had talks with my parents, professors, and friends about this career path, and was starting to feel stuck.

When I realized that it was nearly impossible to change course without causing my family major financial deficits (& losing my dignity as a girl who took 6-7 years to finish college) I decided to just keep my head down and do the best that I possibly could without ending up in a hospital pulling my hair out. I spent the last week attending teacher workdays and staff meetings, tried to stay calm, and just prayed that my 8th graders wouldn't punch me in the face on the first day of school. 

Well, today is Monday, and it's almost 8:00pm. Today was the first day for my students. Today was a day I had been waiting for since I was a little girl. I woke up nervous but excited, still tired from the hours of tossing and turning.  I put on my new skirt, and made sure I looked like someone who could be taken seriously in a classroom. I packed my bag, cooked some lunch, and headed out the door as the sun was peaking over the Cullowhee mountains. 

To say my first day was a surprising success would be an understatement. I couldn't have asked for a better day. It flew by and although I was exhausted by 4pm when I walked in the door, I felt excitement for the days to come. My kids didn't try to overthrow me and rebel against the 20-something intern, but rather they engaged with me and got my sense of humor. I got to experience the sort of floating euphoria that comes with feeling success as a teacher. It was like my doubts had been completely washed away. I didn't think about quitting once - I couldn't even imagine leaving now. I'm already sad for December. 
Teachers struggle daily. We've got one of the hardest jobs in the world. It takes dedication and time, some patience and understanding, as well as some flexibility and humor. We're trying to change lives, and before today, I didn't think that was possible. But now, I know if I work hard enough, I'll make a lasting impression on the students in my classroom. If you're a teacher who is struggling to stay motivated, hold onto those little successes and happy moments. They will be what get you through the year. Happy teaching everyone!