A few things have me particularly anxious:
- I got a pretty decent rep at my school last year as being alright at what I do. This will help, but it also means I have hype to live up to now and the expectations are higher. I'm not a "noob." What I did last year won't be good enough.
- I'm teaching all new preps, save one (the AP class), and have three different preps in fall. No, I don't know what we might be reading on Wednesday yet...
- I have a student teacher. I'm so excited for that--I think changing jobs so often has kept me "in touch" with new to service teachers more than other people with my experience, and I so respect and empathize with how awesome/challenging/impossible/wonderful/horrible that first year of teaching is. He's cool so far. However, I feel like I should feel a lot more like a "master teacher" than I actually do (see #2 and my lack of plans for Wednesday). I know I've been doing this for nine years on two different continents, but still... Doubts eternal.
- My spring students' AP scores were... not good. I hesitate to post about this because it is somewhat questionably private student information that they need not have broadcast on the internet and because I really shouldn't (even in this political climate) put so much stock in scores. As much as I truly believe that standardized tests tell you little more with accuracy than the income range of the test taker's parents, I cannot avoid the reality that (1--and more importantly) the AP test has the potential to help my students avoid taking an extra class in college and therefore is great if they pass it and (2) we teachers not only are judged by others on our students' scores, we really feel overwhelmingly personally responsible for their failures. Like, I see a student in my class get a high score on a test, and I'm like "WOW... John did so GREAT!!!" I see a student get a bad score, and I'm like "Oh MY GOD!!! What did I do wrong? I'm the worst teacher in the entire world!" I realize this is ridiculous, but it is my first reaction to credit students entirely with success and blame myself entirely with failure. Reading too much political educational rhetoric? Perhaps. It's one of my few remaining holdovers of growing up with sub-par self-esteem. All this is to say, that I'm feeling the test score pressure. AP Language and Composition is basically my favorite class to teach (only American Culture came close; though perhaps Creative Writing and Drama would be up there, should anyone ever give me the chance to teach those). I don't want it to be taken away from me next year because of scores.
- My schedule blows. I won't go into details, but I got screwed*. These are the things about teaching in public schools I don't love. At all.
- New principal/bosslady = extra pressure + extra uncertainty. However, over the last few days, I have a very strong positive first impression. Cautiously optimistic? Yes, I am. Aw... I'll just admit the truth now. I'm giddy with glee basking in her positive glow. I love this woman already so much, I know she's bound to disappoint me sometime because she would not be human if she could live up to the amazing feeling of AWESOME I'm getting from her at this point. I will have to temper my giddiness. Fortunately, I have my anxieties... see above.
Typing out my anxieties has made me come back around to my blinding optimism that always seems to win out around this time of year. The students I've met so far have been really awesome. At Back to School night, some of my kids from last year stopped by to tell me about their summers and said really kind things to me (and apparently about me to other teachers). I have a new classroom that is way bigger and more flexible than my previous one. I'm in much better shape with preparation for the whole semester than I was at this time last year, even if my day-to-day is not fleshed out... Overall, most of what I'm feeling is excitement.
I have a feeling I will not be sleeping much this weekend. I plan to spend my last day of summer with my lovely menfolk at the pool.
*honestly, I believe no one did this to me intentionally, so I hold no particular grudge about it. And I have the most supportive colleagues in the world who made me not only NOT run for the hills, but find some positive ways to approach some classes I'm less than enthusiastic about teaching.