Thursday, September 1, 2011


This post is for the unbelievably amazing first year teachers at my new school. Y'all, I am barely holding my sh*t together with all uncertainty and the crazy schedule and the fact that no one has an answer because there is no "last year we did this" - I don't know if I would be able to be a new teacher in this situation on top of it. I admire them so much and know that they will get through it.

Because I did. If I can get past my anxiety, stress, and 103405903493 meltdowns, so. can. you.

I have always been a perfectionist when it comes to my expectations of myself and what I do. Even if to everyone else, I am teaching a great lesson, what I am thinking about is how I can make it better or what more I could have done. This has eased some as my teaching career has gotten underway, but it's still there under the surface.

I remember at one point, a few weeks into my first year, when I had a meltdown at 3:30 and decided to screw it and go home, I ended up melting down AGAIN to an administrator because I felt like a slacker for going home. She, in her infinite wisdom and fantasticness, told me the following: "Katie, when are you going to realize that your 'slacking' is most people's 110 percent?"

It put things into perspective for me. Perception is reality, people. And, much in the same way that 13-year-old girls are convinced that everyone notices the GIANT zit on their face when in fact you can't even see it, you are doing a great job and no one noticed that you forgot that one tiny step of the lesson except you. It's not a pimple on the face of your lesson.

One thing I did for myself my first year was create an iPod mix that I called Classroom Zen. I would sit in my car outside of school at 6:45 a.m., listening to "Let It Be" and bawling.

Another song on the mix is "Vienna" by Billy Joel. Whenever I am stressed I listen to it:

Slow down you crazy child
you're so ambitious for a juvenile
but then if you're so smart tell me
why are you still so afraid?
Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?
you better cool it off before you burn it out
you've got so much to do
and only so many hours in a day

but you know that when the truth is told
that you can get what you want
or you can just get old
you're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through
when will you realize - Vienna waits for you?

Slow down, you're doin' fine
you can't be everything you wanna be before your time
although it's so romantic on the borderline tonight
Too bad, but it's the life you lead
you're so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you're wrong
you know, you can't always see when you're right

you got your passion, you got your pride
but don't you know that only fools are satisfied
dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true
when will you realize - Vienna waits for you?

Slow down you crazy child
and take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while
it's alright, you can afford to lose a day or two
when will you realize - Vienna waits for you?

So to you stressed-out teachers, first year and otherwise: relax and remember, all anyone else sees is the 110 percent.

**UPDATE: I reread this post and realized that I forgot the r in 'borderline.' Obviously this is unacceptable and I fixed it. Perfectionism. Case in point.**

1 comment:

  1. Thanks :) ... for the post and letting me steal your lesson to post on my blog! and its more like 120%!!