As one that is all for killing two birds with one stone, I submit my Reflection (deep sigh). Doesn't it sound dreamy and wonderful to sit and reflect on life? Well, I am all for pondering, too. I like to think about things. But his one is about my stress level, and it stresses me out to even write about it. But here it is anyway---don't let it stress you out, too. (I was supposed to rate myself on a 1-5 scale, hence the first sentence.)
My stress level up to this point is right in the middle of the road at 3. Some stress I feel is necessary, as I hold these children’s educational experiences in my hands. I’m concerned for each of them and want to give them a wonderful, nurturing, inspiring Kindergarten year that they build on as they get older. I get stressed about working on my lesson plans and getting them turned in on time. Other stresses I put on myself and aren’t even necessary, such as having the room look perfect, getting the copy machine to work exactly right, and making my lesson plans look a certain way.
Several situations this school year have been worthy of my stress and thought. Our whole school body was affected by Hurricane Ike in September when hurricane evacuees came to live in our building for a week. We were out of school for three days, and even after we came back we had families sleeping in our classrooms and hanging around in our gym and hallways. Classroom management and inconsistencies in my schedule have caused the most stress. I have two distinct groups of students in my class---those who are ready to read, and those who are not familiar with the alphabet and the sounds of the letters. Trying to address these groups has been stressful to me, especially when I realized the curriculum I was using was above the ability level of so many in the class. After consulting with the other Kindergarten teacher, I have a plan of action. The schedule changes that cause me stress are frustrating because of inconsistency. All the enrichment classes are taught by volunteers who often will cancel because of a sick child or other issue. The period when these classes are taught is my conference period, so if the teacher isn’t there, I will have to work with the other Kindergarten teacher to take her class with mine one period, and she takes mine for another period. That is an additional stress on me to figure out what to do to enrich these children’s half hours myself. I also stress about my lesson plans, which I certainly need and want to turn in to my principal in a timely manner. It is truly work to keep the ideas fresh and varied for Kindergarten students, while also addressing the varied needs of the group. It’s also stressful to me to have full responsibility for every subject matter these students are encountering. What’s very stressful this week is that my deadline for finishing my iteachtexas coursework is looming over the horizon.
For the most part, though, my experience has been a good one, and I am enjoying my time in the classroom. I try to leave the stresses of school at school, and the stresses of home at home. I try to have a go-with-the-flow attitude about changes in my schedule and remind myself that we’re all here to help the children. I try to give myself a break, too, when I can. I am reading books for pleasure, rewarding myself a Coke or candy, and allowing myself the flexibility to set aside the lesson plans for another day when the pressure’s too great to get everything done in one day. My principal made it clear from the beginning that we had personal days we could use if our stress level was too high, so today I am taking advantage of that to advance myself further along the iteachtexas path. I feel like my stress level has been appropriate, considering all that’s going on in my life.
Now, back to writing, editing, reading. And by the way, if you're on Facebook, I just put myself out there. Find me! ;-)