If you know a teacher, you know that being a teacher isn’t always easy. In fact there are often more challenges than you can ever imagine. Fortunately the best parts of life often come out of overcoming the various challenges we face. The majority of the challenges I have faced as a teacher have made me stronger and even more confident that I should be a teacher.
My first teaching job was as a long term substitute for a Spanish teacher at a middle school. The teacher I was subbing for took off two weeks into my sub job just before the quarter ended and had only one grade in the grade book. I ended up finishing out the year as she ended up resigning after the students told me she moved out of state, and I had to involve the secretary and principal. Yikes! I had never intended to teach middle school or Spanish, and it was harder than I could ever imagine (truly deserving of its own blog post). I made it out the other side and have stuck with teaching.
As a preschool teacher there were many challenges I faced but two in particular that stick out to me.
My first year as a teacher I had a student in my class who really struggled with controlling her emotions. This student could be very sweet but when she was upset, she was not pleasant to be around. I will never forget one day a few weeks into the school year, she hit me, and I was completely unprepared. I was trying to help her get back in control of herself. I stood up, held her hand, and walked next door to my fabulous co-worker’s room in tears. I said, “I need help. I don’t know what to do.”
Thankfully she said, “Leave her here with me. Go take a few breaths, then come back, and we will take care of this.”
When I came back, I was introduced to the wonderful world of cartooning to help a child work through a problem. We survived, and this cartooning strategy was one I came to rely on heavily with this student and others.
Another challenging situation I found myself in was when I had a student who was not born on the US and did not speak English in my class. This student really struggled in school and would throw furniture and try to escape pretty regularly. Christmas Break came around and we were making great progress. Unfortunately this student was leaving to visit his grandparents in his home country and didn’t return. This experience led me to pursue my Masters in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education.
These three challenging situations were overwhelming and frustrating at the time, but each one taught me about myself. I learned how to advocate for myself and get help when I need it. It also helped me to find a way to direct my educational choices for the future.
It can seem hard in the moment when faced with a challenge but I have found I always come out the other side a stronger and better teacher.
*This post was written as part of the #edublogsclub challenge week six.