After seven years, one quarter, and 4ish weeks of being a teacher, I still have days when I think to myself, "Yikes, I don't know what I am doing!" These thoughts generally occur to me and send me into a state of panic on the last day of a break, such as today. I know I'll have the same feeling on Jan. 2nd, and the last day of spring break, and again on the last day of next summer.
When we've had more than 3 days off, I tend to think I have no idea what I am doing. I forget about the previous 7 years, 1 quarter, and 4 weeks, and start to panic. I stare at my lesson plan template for a Monday and think "I have no idea what we are going to do tomorrow."
I start to breathe a little faster. And I close my eyes and imagine the resources I have in my room so I can think of something to put into the lesson plans. My head says "Am I really responsible for 8 little kids and their education? What do I know?" And I sit with my eyes closed and my fingers on the keyboard.
Three years ago, I used to walk into my principal's office after each break and, I would tell her "I don't know what I'm doing."
She would stare at me, then laugh a little.
"What? Yes you do. Go back to your room." This was her response after the third time I did this.
Hahahahahaha... That was exactly the answer I needed.
Yes I do. I know what I'm doing. I know what we are doing next, and even though I teach something different at this time every single year to every single kid, I know exactly where we are headed. And I know it, inherently now.
But now, after the panic settled, and I remembered what my former principal used to tell me, I could breathe again.
I know exactly where we've been and exactly where we are going.
And if you asked me about any 1 of those 8 students, I could tell you, without having to look it up. I could tell you about his or her data. I could tell you about his or her likes and dislikes, his triggers, her favorite foods, his best friend, her new "stim" and all her former "stims." I could tell you how many times I've tried to teach her how to count coins in how many different ways. I can tell you what meds she's on and what he eats for breakfast every day. I can tell you how long he's been working on the Dolch Primer Sight Word List. I can likely tell you what joke he may tell during circle time or what icon she may click first 99 out of 100 times on the computer.
But I have to remind myself that I know these things. I have to write blogs to be able to reflect on these facts. I have to remember these things when I hear those comments about being "status quo" or "mediocre."
Because at least 4 times a year, I forget that I know, and I question myself.
Please believe that I still look things up once in a while and still reference IEPs and content standards, but often, it's to confirm things I already know.
And today I can confirm something I already knew, that I was meant to be a teacher.