Catching Up (SOL Day 5)

I still haven’t quite gotten in the habit of writing, but I am determined to make up any days that I miss. Sometimes I feel like I am always working to catch up on things.

The first year of teaching (and I’m sure other years as well, but I haven’t experienced that yet) often feels like I am cycling between drowning and treading water. There is no floating going on here. I felt like I was finally getting a steady tread going this week (I had some time to catch up on grading and planning), and then today a couple of my classes seemed out of control, which made me feel like I had gone underwater again.

As Robert Burns said, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft agley,” or, things don’t always go as you would hope, even though they appear to be so well planned. When I feel like I’ve gotten a handle on my lessons plans and my students should be good to go, the universe usually decides that I need a little more of a challenge. I know I can handle it, but I’m hoping that after this year things will feel just a wee bit easier. Experience should do that, right?

Teaching is so much more than helping students learn content area material. It’s learning to work with adults and children (or young teenagers, in my case) who continue to surprise you on a daily basis. This can feel incredibly overwhelming, but more often, it really is wonderful. But those two feelings aren’t even mutually exclusive.

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Forgetfulness (SOL Day 4)

Sometimes things slip my mind. For example, when I have meetings after school and meetings to worry about the next morning, I can forget about little things. Little things like writing. So today I will write two posts, in order to make up for the one I missed yesterday.

It is often hard to keep track of everything, and even though I try to keep up with school and personal commitments, there are occasions when this or that falls by the wayside. Whenever I fall behind during National Novel Writing Month, I try to make it up by upping my word count on the next day. This doesn’t always work because I tend to get too far behind. With this project though, I would like to keep it up, even if I fall behind a day or two. I can double up on posts, like today (and hopefully I’ll remember to write again later).

Most of my posts so far have been reflections on writing, and with this post, I’m hoping that it will remind me to continue writing each and every day this month, and maybe even beyond. If I practice being reflective, hopefully it will become a daily habit!

First Day, First Slice for Slice of Life 2014!

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As I begin this post, I still feel unsure of what to write, but according to the Slice of Life Challenge that I’m starting, it doesn’t really matter. It only matters that I am writing. When I started this blog back in July, I planned on using it as a way to reflect on my first year of teaching. Life got in the way, and I ended up doing nothing with it except for posting a few pictures of my classroom before the first day of school. Fast forward six months, and I have now learned more about teaching than I ever thought I could, and I continue to learn more each day.

So I will begin again today, with the Slice of Life challenge. All of my posts might not necessarily be related to classroom reflections, but since teaching is such a huge part of my life, many will be. I’ll use today as an “introductory” post, since writing about yourself is supposed to be one of the easiest things to do.

Hi, my name is Rachel. I teach 8th grade Language Arts in Dublin, Ohio. As a first year teacher, it is both incredibly exhausting and thrilling. (I consciously chose not to use the word “rewarding,” because it is so overused. But teaching is so rewarding. There’s a reason that descriptor is used so much.) In my free time I enjoy hiking, writing (which I never do enough of), reading, and knitting. I also have an unhealthy relationship with coffee, but I’m okay with that.

In the past I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo), which challenges participants to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days during November. I’ve participated for the past five years, but only “won” (written 50,000 words) twice. Last year I got up to about 30,000 words, but didn’t manage to finish. So when I was told about the Slice of Life month-long challenge by my friend and fellow teacher, Gretchen, I was immediately on board. I could post a blog everyday for a month. It doesn’t even have to be long. That’s nothing compared to 2000 words a day during NaNoWriMo, right?

But this is different. Writing for NaNoWriMo, I can write whatever I want and never have to show it to anyone. It’s a great writing practice, but I can keep everything to myself. With this challenge, I know there is a possibility that others will be reading my writing, so it adds something to the challenge. I have to write something worth reading. And maybe it won’t always feel this way, especially when I get farther into the month, but I’m not used to writing for an audience beyond my students.

I’m excited to get started on this project, and I hope to see it through all the way to the end of March. I have a tendency to start things and never finish them, but I’m going to hold myself to this challenge. Let the wild writing begin!