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A lesson from 2008: Being a teacher isn’t always fun

Ms. T. is blogging about her experience working in a Collaborative Team Teaching classroom. CTT classes have a mix of students in general education and special education, and each class has two teachers, one with special education certification. Ms. T is the general education teacher in her classroom.
As the year draws to a close, I begin to reflect on the changes that have taken place in my teaching life throughout the last year. I left a wonderful school, with an amazing administration, and a great team of coworkers. I moved states away to New York City to spend a torturous time finding a job (but at least I found one). I have felt miserable more days than I thought possible working at this school, more days than I’d ever thought possible, period. Teaching has always been my highlight, my enjoyment. The past few months have taught me one thing for sure. It’s not always easy, and sadly, it’s not always fun.

Yet, despite all the less enjoyable thoughts that come to mind when I think about the second half of 2008, I can also find some truly amazing things that have happened. I was more than fortunate to be placed in a Collaborative Team Teaching classroom with a perfect match for a teaching partner. Although our class makeup is less than desirable for a CTT room, we are working towards identifying students who deserve different settings. My teaching partner and I have grown together and are developing into a strong team. We have the potential to be successful, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to teach in a CTT situation, an experience I would have probably missed out on if I had never moved to teach in New York City.

I have been given challenges that have frustrated me (and will continue to frustrate me) to no end. Yet, I continue to work towards overcoming these challenges. I have to find ways to move my students up with or without resources, with or without direction from the administration, with or without students who have the prior knowledge and skills a 5th grader should possess. My team teacher and I are devoted to finding ways to making this happen. We are constantly thinking and trying new strategies and methods. Some of our attempts have been successful, while some have not. Most importantly, we, as teachers, have learned.

Our successes have not been as successful as I would like, but we still have them. Parents have told us that their students are more engaged and excited about learning than they were ever in the past — a truly special compliment to any teacher, as all she really wants to do is instill a love for learning into her students. As the year draws to a close, I feel hopeful. I feel as if I can meet the challenges to come in 2009.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.

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