I suppose many teachers–especially first year teachers–begin to feel this way at this time of year.  Overwhelmed, disappointed, wondering how they will ever get through another semester.  I suppose it is a mix of grading, students, and stress that begins these thoughts.   And, today, I am in the midst of all these doubts.

I know I haven’t always been the best teacher.  I know there are skills that I never found a way to teach properly.  I know I have students who will walk away having gained very little.  That knowledge is weighing me down.  As I grade paper after paper of writing that shows no growth in skill from the beginning of the semester until now, I wonder if I even know how to teach at all.  I wonder how they can possibly allow me to teach another semester–let alone another year.

I think of all the ways I’ve failed my students (often ignoring the way they’ve failed me) and beat myself up for things I could have–should have done better.  And I am wondering why I chose this profession and is it really the right fit.

I know that most of this is just normal doubt and normal stress building up.  It’s not just the teaching that’s getting me down but the wedding and the house buying are adding a nice layer or varying types of stress, and I have never been one who has dealt well with stress.  Still the feelings of doubt and fear for the rest of my career linger.  Will I ever get it right?  Will life ever give me a chance to catch up?

And in the midst of this, one of my students just lost their father.  She is a sweet girl, a hard worker, and I can’t even begin to imagine what she’s going through.  I can’t imagine losing my father now as an adult, let alone at 18 when that scary new world is out there staring you in the face.  I have never felt the urge to hug one of my students until today.  I wanted to comfort, but did not know how.   And even though I can’t shake my own doubts and stresses and worries, my thoughts and prayers are with her and her family today.

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