Since I have been out of the classroom lately, I have had a lot of time to look back on some of my favorite memories from when I was teaching in Virginia. Teaching at an inner city school as a brand new teacher was extremely interesting on a daily basis. So my next couple of posts are going to be looking back at my time in Virginia.
I thought I would start with my start in Virginia. I was so excited for my first real teaching job, but also freaking out because I was now in charge of my own classroom and had 150 students in my 9th grade English class.
So my first big surprise actually occured before I even entered the classroom. I was super excited to teach 9th grade English, after all that is what I had just finished student teaching. The day before I was actually in the classroom I was told that yes, while I was teaching 9th grade English, that not all of my students would actually be 9th graders. I had two classes of students repeating 9th grade English. The first day I had students I found out that some of them were in 9th grade English for the second and in some cases third or fourth time.
Along with this nice surprise, when I walked into the classroom, I quickly discovered that the teacher that left before did exactly that. She left…everything everywhere. There were papers all over the place, the desk drawers were full of stuff (some of it useful, most of it not), and a closet full of personal belongings that she just never came back for. See I started in an unusual situation, the teacher left for maternity leave and while she was on leave she decided not to come back. So I started halfway through the year in a classroom that wasn’t even mine.
However, I think the biggest surprise that I ran into was the desk itself, and the funny part is that I didn’t even realize it until the end of my first day. My desk only had three legs, not the four that it was supposed to. Now, the interesting part is that the district I was teaching in could not afford to buy me a new desk that had four legs, so I had to make the best of it. Well, on day two I made sure to make shift my desk so that I didn’t have to worry about my desk tipping every time I sat something down on it. My desk was held up by a bottle of clorox wipes and a couple of books.
I’m not sure why, but my start at teaching in Virginia still really resonates with me. It was exhausting (mentally, emotionally, and physically), but no matter what went wrong in those first six months I was always able to turn the situation around. I had a three legged desk, I knew no one in Virginia and moved there by myself, and teaching my repeater classes was extremely challenging! I was able to hold up my desk with Clorox wipes and books, I made really good friends, I adopted my dog, I forged relationships with my students that I didn’t think I had anything in common with, and out of my two full classes with kids that had to repeat 9th grade English, 75% of them passed.
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