Friday, January 1, 2010

Winter Leave- Coming Back

While Winter Break is incredibly important for getting some rest and regrouping for January and February, it can also be dangerous. Before I left to head back to Kansas last year my assistant principal came by after one of my rougher days to talk about break. He left on a note of, "Make sure you come back from Kansas." If he had said that to the young man who had been in the School of Ed, that young man would have been incredibly indignant and would have either said or thought, "Quit? Do you know who you're talking to?!"

I didn't react that way though. I just looked at my AP and looked at the floor and responded unenthusiastically that he could count on me being back in January. It was clear that it had happened in the past that first-years make it through the fall, head back home for the holidays and then don't show their face in the spring. Seeing how easy they had it or how nice it really was back home certainly can be disheartening. I was also told that come spring when things aren't fixed for some people they cut and run. Perhaps being home over the holidays is a catalyst for that as well.

You might be having a terrible time this year. Teaching your first year is likely the most difficult thing you've ever done and it may very well be the most difficult thing you ever do. I've heard that time and again from veteran teachers and even former teachers who've left the field. The same AP who told me to come back after break was also the one who told me over and over again that next year would be better. While it's nearly impossible for a first year teacher to believe things can be that much better, they can be and are.

As things stand now, if you're already in the thick of it things will probably not get drastically better this year, but you need to stick it out for you and for your students. Quitting the field based on one year of teaching, let alone one semester, is quitting based on the most difficult part of the job without seeing any of the rewards.

Hang in there. It'll get better.

Today's Wine: Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut. That's a bottle of sparkling wine out of Washington State. Happy New Year!

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