a new beginning

This has been a rough transition, to say the least. I don't think I've ever felt so trapped and so unsure of myself in my LIFE. Every morning I wake up, drag myself out of bed, and attempt to make myself presentable with tears streaming down my face. Every afternoon, I muster up the courage to walk into my mentor teacher's classroom and hammer out some "long term planning," only to find myself choking back tears because she's too busy to give me a second thought. I leave her room no better prepared than I was when I entered it, walk into my own classroom (which is becoming more familiar to me than my home), curl into a ball on the sofa and cry for exactly 37 seconds. Then I pick myself up and get to work... until 8:00 or so.

I drive home, shovel some food down my throat (THANK GOD FOR ANN - more later), and continue to work until well past midnight, only to wake the next morning at 6:30 and begin the process again.

Ayiyi. I'm on a fast track to disaster. There is absolutely no way I can keep this up.

I know I'm not alone. Even teachers who have been in the business for over ten years are telling me they go home at night and search for new careers. This is TOO MUCH to ask.

But alas, it is my job. And at the end of the day, I know I'm doing good work. I'm making a difference. I'm providing these children a safe place, stability, love, and support that they most likely cannot find at home. I'm not only teaching them math, english, and spanish - I'm also teaching them how to show respect, solve problems, and make good decisions (our class rules). Sometimes I question whether or not I'm "enough" for them, but there is a tiny voice in my heart that assures me that I'm NOT enough. I will NEVER be "enough." But He is. And while I may not be legally allowed to talk about Him while I'm teaching, I can most certainly show His love to these children every single day. He is doing good work through me.

So in an attempt to cheer myself up and focus on the positive, I'm going to list some of the most amazing blessings I've received over the last few weeks. If it weren't for these amazing people, I would not have survived my first week as a teacher:

1) Kaitlynn: my best friend in the whole world, not only has she come into my classroom to offer physical support, she's also my confidant. I never once have to worry about being a "burden." She is always there to listen, encourage, and keep me on track. When my OCD starts to get the best of me, she knows how to redirect my attention without causing a major collision in my mind.

2) Mom: she recruited a friend (and veteran teacher) to come and volunteer in my classroom for two whole days. Together they cut, glued, taped, filed, moved, organized, sorted, and cleaned my classroom. My mom is always there to tell me how proud she is. She believes in me. AND she decorated the outside of my ugly portable with beautiful flowers as a surprise on my first day. :)

3) Emily Cunningham: my friend and fellow first year teacher, she came after a long day of work preparing her OWN classroom and helped me sort and organize my own. She even devised the brilliant plan to cover the obnoxiously ugly brown cabinets with butcher paper, thus brightening my room 10-fold.

4) Jenn: this amazing young woman is in the process of starting her own business (Naturally Clean - you should check them out!), and yet she still found the time to volunteer in my classroom AND bring me dinner. She even got together with some friends of mine and surprised me with a card, some chocolate (nearly as important as air these days), and a darling sign which I hung right next to my desk in my classroom.

5) Dad and Ann: thanks to these two, I have a fridge full of groceries AND I didn't have to pack lunch or make dinner my first two days as a teacher. I'm eating healthier thanks to all my fresh produce and feeling more energetic. Also, tonight, the three of us sat down and hammered out a fantastic insurance plan for me. They teamed together to help me translate all the paperwork into some language I could comprehend and sat by my side while I filled it out and registered. Beginning October 1st, I will be an insured woman once again. :)

6) Joelle: my roommate, she helped me organize my lesson plan book - crucial to simplification AND long term planning.

7) My sisters: check in on me daily to see how I'm doing and remind me that they are praying.

There are 1410841384 more I could type, but my brain is full and so is this entry. If you made it this far, congratulations. I'm both nervous and excited to see what the next 9 months will hold. I can already tell I'm going to grow and learn a ton.

I will post pictures of my classroom and tell you a bit about my kiddos another day.

Love you, seriously.


Kendra said…
You know what?? You made it through the first week. And you know what else?? You were able to put a list of blessings down.
I would say the week was a huge success.
I am praying for you!! Praying next week goes even better, and the week after that even better...etc.
I KNOW you are doing exactly what He has called you to do at this point in your life, so He will no doubt get you through!!

LOVE YOU Ms. Brown!!
Vanessa's Dad said…
Great to read your post. Looking forward to photos. God IS working through you, and He is doing wonderful work in the lives of your students. He will take care of you, too.

You've made it through your first week. The stress will get less, and the rewards will grow, as your kids grow to appreciate you... and they will.

Amanda said…
Ah, Blondie, I wish I could do more. Hang in there. You ARE making a difference in these kids' lives!!!
"M" said…
Natalie you are amazing! I know that God has a big plan for you this year!! I can't wait to see you Tuesday! Huggs!!!
Anonymous said…
You are going to change the lives of your students and they are so blessed to have you as their teacher! There really is no other job as stressful, time-consuming, or great as teaching! Keep up the fight!
Oh Miss Brown,
I am praying for you daily.
I love love love you!
<3 Andrea <3 said…
I am praying for you Natalie! you are so amazing and I am sure those kids love you:) keep up the good work!