… continued from here ….
My first day of teaching I felt even less prepared for the experience than when I started student teaching. I was very nervous as I waited for the students to trickle in. Almost all of my students were on time though, and my 9th grade class started smoothly. I remembered to introduce myself, set a good tone for classroom management for the semester and managed to get through my discussion with Brittaney whose name I still cannot say with the right accent. Anyway, I was feeling pretty good and was pleased with my progress.
My M$AA class also went reasonably smoothly, but I had hardly any students. Of the 17 students on my roster, only 10 or so showed up, which really should have been an immediate warning sign for me. There were some hiccups. I remember one of the students saying something to me and I had NO idea what he was trying to say, I wasn’t even sure it was English. I later thought it might have been in Creole (when I learned later that student was bilingual), but whatever it was, the rest of the class cracked up.
After lunch, my M$C class started poorly. I made a huge blunder. The teacher across the hall was late returning from lunch, so I ushered his students into my classroom to safeguard them until he arrived which I thought was standard procedure. It took 20 minutes, 2 security guards and an Assistant Principal to extract the M$AA students from the room so I could get back to teaching my grade 10 students. Actually teaching is the wrong word to use. Talking to a room full of people who paid me NO attention at all is much more accurate. My M$AA class was difficult but at least I had good days with them. With my 10th grade students, I didn’t actually get their attention at all (except from four dedicated souls sitting in the front, THANK YOU!) until near the end of November.
At the end of my first day of teaching I was feeling a little low, but I got some advice from one of the new teachers who actually had a fair bit of teaching experience from previous years. She said, "Don’t try to make every day perfect just keep plugging away. You’ll find that at first about 1 in 5 of your lessons works, and those are the lesson plans you should keep. Throw the rest away."
The rest of the week, which in this case was two more days, went by pretty much the same as the first day. 9th grade class was okay, 10th grade and mixed class were pretty difficult. I felt like a failure a lot in those first few weeks, and at the time what kept me going was the fact that there were 12 other teachers going through exactly the same thing, and that every once in a while, I would connect with the kids. These moments made me really happy and each of us who was experiencing the same horror story would share both our failures and successes during our Friday afternoon unwinding sessions.