For many, mid-October is pumpkin spice season; a time when apples are ripe for picking and our favorite television shows are back in full swing.
For first-year teachers, it’s quite different. They just survived a full month of school and suddenly realize things are not going as planned. They question both their commitment and their competence. Their strategies in teaching, once seen as indestructible tools, are now useless. Back to School night means playing the ultimate “fake it till you make it,” telling parents the year’s plans when they are still unclear in the new teacher’s mind.
I was that teacher last year. Those who worked with me in Action Research Group know this well. My in-person check-ins, blog posts, and reflections at that time would make an outsider question whether or not I’d make it to June.
This year, I’m a second year teacher. I have yet to feel the same type of stress, confusion, and disillusionment I did last year. Maybe I’m more prepared, or perhaps I’m wiser. Maybe both. No matter which, I know much of my newfound confidence comes from the power of observation.