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It's OK!

Hi there.  It's me.... the author of this neglected blog.  Yes.... it's been well over a month since I've written a blog post.  While this post will not include fun and engaging pictures from my classroom, it will hopefully let you know that you are not alone.

It's the end of week 9 for me here in kindergarten for this school year.  I'm a quarter of the way through with the school year.  (insert wide eyes)  While these first nine weeks have gone a lot quicker than I thought, I'll have to admit that I am still struggling to stay ahead.  (please tell me I'm not the only one!)

9 weeks.  In just 9 short (but fast) weeks, I've gained twenty new part-time kids.  I've learned their names, their unique behaviors (and they are VERY unique!), learned what they are strong with and what they struggle with, seen how they interact with other students, met each and every parent of these kiddos, learned their favorite color and TV show, what they did over the weekend, and so much more.

You see, the work of teacher is so much more than just "teaching".

Unless you are a teacher (probably why you read this blog!), you are married to a teacher, or have a teacher in the family, then you most likely don't understand exactly what a teacher does on a daily basis.  Sure.... we work 8-3 and have summers off.  (insert LOTS of rolling eyes).

I'ts 7:40 PM as I'm writing this and I JUST got home 15 minutes ago from "work".  3:00 passed a few hours ago and I was NO-WHERE near ready to go home.

Teachers have this amazing ability to do SO many jobs as a "teacher".

We as teachers are:

- lesson plan creator (mostly consuming our entire weekends to plan and create activities for!)

- lesson deliverer (while delivering this lesson, you are monitoring multiple behaviors, making sure all students are attentive, understanding, progressing, using, and retaining, etc... )

- RTI Specialist

- Advanced student specialist

- Right on Target student specialist

- Nurse

- Playground monitor

- Lunchroom specialist (making sure each and every student has their food, their tray, their lunch number, and they make it to their table and have their food in front of them!)

- Hallway leader and police!

- Parent Conference PRO!

- Behavior Specialist

- Restroom monitor (and boy they need to be monitored!)

- Advocate for student rights

- Attendance marker

- Email checker (and yes.... you must respond to some of these emails!)

- Faculty meeting expert!

- Filing organizer (you know.... after you planned all of the wonderful lessons and you need to store them for next year!)

- School supply sorter (find a basket and location for the 48 different supplies they bring!)

- Calm Down Caregiver - (when students are melting down over something very simple in our eyes.... but the entire world to them!)

- Germ Fighter (because we know those little babies are flying!)

- Newsletter creator (oh.... and that's every week my friends!)

- Guided Reading Royalty - yes... that's MULTIPLE groups with multiple levels of activities, differentiated activities and you do this DAILY my people!

- Science and Social Studies - yep.... gotta teach those too!

- Document the Data - (for ALL students!)

- Did I mention the Copy Machine and Laminator?  - we kinda need these every now and then too!

- After school Duty Pro - I mean... we gotta get these kids to their home right?!

- Objectives - post these somewhere....everywhere.... you MUST have them!

- Centers and Stations - (I mean.... you can't leave the same stations up all year.... we are constantly changing out these engaging activities to meet the needs of all of our students!)

- Shoe Tie King/Queen - (Velcro should be mandatory until you turn 12)

- Relationships - (yep.... you gotta manage to build a relationship with all students - trust me.... this one is a good one!)

- Computer Login Leader - (have you ever tried to login 20 five year olds on a computer with a username and password?  - you should try it sometime!)

- Weekend Warrior - this is where you spend all weekend thinking, prepping, planning, creating, and re-planning for your upcoming week!

- Part Time Parent - you are with these students for a big chunk of the day.... they get sad, scared, sick, and worried..... we become a parent for these students!

- Team Planner - so after all of your weekend planning... get ready to come to the table and share!  You will probably lose a conference period for this!

- PLC - say no more!  It's all about that Data.... growth.... and student success!  So bring that 17 inch data binder and get ready to share!  (it's really a good thing)

- Bulletin Board Master!  - you create monthly, adorable, and creative ways to display your students work!

- Artist - (you know... you're gonna draw little pictures, create charts, and make things for your lessons to stand out a little more!)

- Special Needs Supervisor - yep.... you will have students with special needs... which makes you even more special as a teacher!  :)

- Teacher

(yeah.... that's all for the job of a "teacher"....that person that works from 8-3......)

Did I mention that with all of that..... you still have a family at home.  Kids.  Spouse.   Dinner to cook.  Kids to bathe and put to bed (don't forget the reading and nightly homework!), downtime (HA!) try to watch the news to see what's happening in our world..... all while doing the things on the teacher list above.

While most people think at week 9... we should be rockin' and rollin'..... well we are.  But that doesn't mean it's easier.  It doesn't mean I have more time.  It just means that I know my students, I know how and what I need to plan, what things I need to focus on, change, and re-plan.... but it's still hard.

It's not my first year or second year of teaching.... i'm over the decade mark and I still struggle.

I struggle with finding time with my own children.  Making sure i'm giving them quality mommy time, doing the mommy thing, eating a meal with them, slowing down to let them know they are still my first priority.

I struggle with finding time with my friends.  Going to eat with them.  Catching up on our latest tv show gossip and fashion trends (I mean... I can only say so much about CAMO)

I struggle with trying to find an engaging lesson for EVERY lesson..... guess what.... it's ok if every lesson isn't PERFECT.  You give your best effort, you plan, and you go from there.  Your kids will not fail from one not-so-perfect lesson.... and you won't fail as a teacher because of it.

Guess what.... you are not alone with struggling.... and that's OK!

It's ok to struggle.  It's ok to ask for help.  It's ok to extend a deadline.  It's ok to not blow dry your hair each day.  It's ok to go to bed at 8:00.  It's OK!

Whether you are in week 6, week 9, or week 12..... it's ok to still be struggling with the balance of teaching.

I promise.   It's ok.

Teaching isn't easy.  You have to have a college degree.  You have to observe.  You have to be critiqued.  You have to control students.  You have to share knowledge.  You have to learn.  There's no wonder why 50% of teachers leave the profession within the first FIVE years.  It's not a walk in the park. But it's rewarding walk.

You are not alone in this world of TEACHING.  You are a teacher... who is changing the world!  If you don't ever fail... you won't ever know what success feels like.

Go get some sleep..... grab some ice cream and cookies.... and relax.  You need it.  Your family needs it.  Your students need you to.

If no one has told you.... you are a ROCKSTAR.  You are a teacher for a reason.  You are making a difference.   Your kids need you.  They love you.  You aren't perfect..... but you are perfect to them!


Jessica Travis
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