September 25, 2010

New Job

I've been so busy recently, that I completely forgot to blog about my new job. Within days of the new school year starting, I was contacted by a friend's husband, who happens to be the director of the English Language Learners program in a local district. He was looking for a long-term substitute to cover a medical leave in one of the junior highs. He told me it would be a resource class, and that I would have like two students.

I was super excited about the opportunity to have consistent work and my own classroom, so I jumped on board and was able to start working the second week of school (meaning my official unemployment lasted only one week... holla!).

When I arrived at the school on my first day, I was beyond surprised to learn about my schedule. I was, in fact, not teaching any resource classes at all. Oh, no! I'm teaching every subject. That's right, people. Math, Science, Social Studies, English... it's all me! And... did I mention that I have all three grade levels in the room at the same time? And did I tell you that I have three students known as "newcomers," meaning they speak such little English that they cannot even be in a sheltered (content-based) ELL classroom? And that those three boys are in my classroom all day... even when I'm teaching sheltered classes.

Talk about overwhelming! I instantly wanted to duplicate myself and magically become fluent in Spanish (and Albanian... and math), neither of which is possible.

I won't lie... there were enormous amounts of tears in that first week. I even considered throwing in the towel on my way home that Friday - and I'm not a quitter. But after some much needed encouragement from friends, family and even coworkers, I decided to stay.

I have to admit, the job is still stressful and challenging, but I'm glad I'm here. I'm taking it one day at a time, and trying not to hold myself to the standard of being the very best ELL teacher in the world. I'm giving myself permission to say, "No!" if something doesn't work for me and "Yes, I would love your help because I know nothing about teaching math!"

One day at a time.

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