I cannot believe that I am sitting down to write my last entry as a CEC Reality 101 blogger. It seems like just yesterday that I was writing my bio and posting my first entry. I have really enjoyed every minute of this last year blogging for CEC! It felt so great to share my successes and my frustrations, and I really appreciate all of the kind words of support and suggestions from everyone. While I didn’t have the same kinds of craziness I’ve experienced in my first two years of teaching, my third year didn’t disappoint, that’s for sure.
I’ve been thinking about why this year has seemed so much different from the past two years, and I began to see the progression of my career. In my first year of teaching, I really focused on my teaching. I was getting the hang of classroom management and finding my teaching style. My second year of teaching I jumped back into graduate school; I was taking classes full time and working full time. I was wrapped up in up research, theory, and practice. This past year my focus became much broader, I was on so many committees and I was starting to see the larger picture of teaching both district-wide and nation-wide.
It’s really very easy to get wrapped up in the paperwork and drama that often go hand-in-hand with being a special education teacher. Here is my advice to all the new special education teachers:
- Nothing ever goes as planned. Whether it’s IEP meetings or that math lesson. Always have a backup idea ready, and have a backup plan to your backup plan ready as well!
- Be a “jack-of-all-trades.” We are expected to collaborate and accommodate all the time. Think on your feet and be comfortable sharing ideas.
- It’s okay to be the bad guy. Your students may say that they hate you and they don’t like you (as my Juan often did). Just remember you are acting in the best interest of your students. They may never thank you in person, but they will be glad for all that you did.
- Don’t forget to laugh! When all else fails and you don’t know what to do, laugh! It’s okay. Remember to see the humor in the situation.
Thank you for sharing in my journey as a new special education teacher. I have loved sharing this past year with everyone and hoped you enjoyed it as well. I wish I had some great wise words to say my goodbye, but I don’t. So instead I’ll leave you with some words from The Sound of Music:
So long, farewell
Auf Weidersehen, goodbye
I leave and heave
A sigh and say goodbye
My plans for the future: I’m looking into different options for getting my PhD; I plan on being a professor in the future. I plan on staying active in CEC; who knows maybe one day I’ll be the president of CEC!