I have been reflecting on the journeys of other teachers. After realizing that I am only in my second year of teaching I have observed something. I am really blessed! Professionally and personally. I have a great wife and family. I could talk about the personal stuff forever, but here I am going to talk about how I am professionally blessed.
My first year of teaching was also my first year of tprs. Man, was it hard! I was dealing with so much and people kept telling me I was doing great, but inside I felt like a mess –which is normal! I knew that at the time, but it really was hard to believe and I felt like a failure many times. Anne Matava told me during my first semester of my first year teaching that I just needed to get though the year and realize that it will never be remotely as hard as it is your first year. I held on to that like a life preserver and it got me through –along with a lot of praying and the support of my wife as well as friends. The good news is that I didn’t give up and I am still getting on the horse every day. I am starting in a very small way to reap the benefits.
I started my second year of teaching ready for the pain of teaching only to find that I was magically stronger and it was so much easier. Part of it was that the students knew me, but also I had grown from observing other tprs teachers and from slugging it out every day.
It seems strange to confess, but I actually don’t even remember what the old way feels like. I don’t remember what it feels like to use activities and textbooks. I expect teaching to have minimal preparation, the periods to go fast, and a majority of the students to willingly and enjoy acquiring the target language. These are only a small number of things that I have come to expect with teaching. I almost feel like I am spoiled. I don’t feel like a “real” teacher that is burned out and hates their job. Who is weighed down by tons of grading or worse, students who really do not care about what we do. That’s awesome!
In reality, however, I am a real teacher because my students are acquiring the language and they seem to enjoy it –especially as my skills become more refined and I learn how to relate to them. It makes me feel blessed that I found this way of teaching and I can enjoy my family as well as do stuff that I want to do. I thank God for that!