At the start of my blogging, I was about to begin my second year of teaching 1st grade. I had opened every job opening email over the summer in hopes that I would not have to teach first grade again. (You know it’s a sign you need a change when you remember the time you NEVER even opened those emails right?) I ended up making it through a really challenging year- challenging due to the academic needs of my students, behavior issues I had never faced before, & working in a building that didn’t feel like home anymore for me.
Fast forward to now- I have been teaching 7th grade math for about 13 weeks. I truly feel this is where I belong. I loved 3rd grade when I taught it- it felt so natural for me & I thought I would teach it for 10 years before I wanted a change. It broke my heart to only teach it for two years & be moved. But, maybe that was the stepping stone to get me where I truly belonged. In a way, I feel middle school was maybe just where I was supposed to end up. There are a lot of labels that go with middle school- the drama, the attitude, etc. But when I think of the 150 kids I teach every day, I can honestly say NO they are not ALL like that! I have a few- a few that I am still working the kinks with. Out of five classes, I can honestly say there is only one that stresses me out at times. (And sometimes they come in & do okay.. it’s an interesting combo to say the least lol. Growth in my career that class..)
And I can’t help but think- elementary is really tough when you have a challenging class you are with all day LONG. If you have never taught a grade where you have your class ALL day long, you just don’t know what it is like to be in a situation ALL day long. I remember when some of my kiddos would walk in the room last year & I could tell it was going to be a DAY. It was so much weight on my shoulders. I have now gone from let’s get through the next 7 hours together to let’s make it through 55 min. Teaching is just hard no matter what- but finding your happy place makes all the difference. For me, I love changing classes. It was a jump going from 20 kids to 150 kids, but after a week it already felt routine. & I think a huge part of that was keeping an open mind: ‘SO many teachers see this many kids every day- they’ve done it for years. If they can do it, I can do it.’ I have let middle school be a clean slate/a new chapter/time for growth.
Middle school teachers really care about their students just as much as elementary. I think that has surprised me the most. It amazes me at the relationships I see teachers building at my school when we only have kids for 55 min at a time. But maybe that is the art of a secondary teacher after all? I love building relationships with my students and this age group can actually be a lot of fun. Most of our days are good. I come home happier. If there’s anyone out there thinking about trying middle school, I encourage you to give it a try. It just might be where you belong. Elementary made me who I am- the details I put into lessons, the organization, the cute labels on my binders, the time management (thank you small groups lol), but now- now I am secondary at heart.