Hello again! After months of blog neglect, I’m back with my first post since becoming a full-time teacher. Since I’ve been MIA for so long, let’s do some catch up before I even get into the meat of this post:
I got hired as a full-time 10th grade English teacher at a charter school in Northeast Philadelphia…two weeks before the start of the school year. Needless to say, the start of the school year was a little overwhelming as I tried to shape a curriculum outline, plan lessons, and set up my room with the first day of school just around the corner. As I’ve heard from those much more experienced, the first year of teaching is filled with intense ups and downs, but it’s going great and I am loving being in the classroom! The initial struggle to stay afloat as a new teacher has, in part, been what’s prevented me from writing new blog posts (I know, excuses…).
That initial struggle to plan and organize and do everything you don’t realize teachers do until you’re in the classroom is becoming manageable and at this point, even exciting, pushing me to my creative limits and making me a better teacher in the process. As I’ve begun to hit my stride, I’m taking the time to refocus on myself and strike a balance (ding ding) between being a committed, caring teacher and a human being with personal relationships and other interests in which I want to invest time and energy. In the beginning of the school year, when everything was brand new (it still feels that way sometimes) there was no balance. I was focused so completely on my teaching that I neglected a lot of the things that I had enjoyed previously, like writing blog posts. Teaching is by nature a very demanding profession, and as major changes occur in our lives, priorities have to shift accordingly, but I’m beginning to realize as we come to the end of the first semester, that time spent outside of “teaching-mode” is a necessity; finding a balance between one’s professional and personal life must be a top priority, no matter what profession.
I think that as a first year teacher, I am in a position particularly prone to losing this professional/personal balance, but it’s something that we all have to remind ourselves of at times. I’m still working on it; I’m sure my friends could tell you that they haven’t seen much of me since the school year started. The key, though, is being aware of the balance, or lack of balance, and taking the time to assess if you need to make adjustments.
Grading papers all day? Maybe it’s time for a Netflix mini-marathon. Thinking incessantly about your lesson plan for Monday? Take a couple hours to catch up with friends and family. It doesn’t have to be a vacation to the Bahamas; even small chunks of time devoted to oneself can make a HUGE difference. Our personal and professional lives should exist symbiotically, supporting each other and making each more fulfilling and complete. As the first semester comes to a close, I’m committed to striking that balance, or at least coming closer every day.