>A Room of One’s Own?

>I had a minor nightmare about the first day of school (FDOS)…number 6, by my count.  But this one actually made me reflect, as opposed to just thinking, “What the ****?”  I dreamed that I was starting off the school year in my classroom, except that my winter mentor Betsy was there co-teaching with me.  In my dream, I felt nervous and slightly violated having this other person in the room, and I was constantly twitchy about whether what I did was good enough for Betsy.

There are a few roots/shoots of this dream.

  1. Leftover insecurity from my placement experience.  Unlike my fall/spring mentor Pat, Betsy and I have rather different teaching and classroom management styles, and it was really hard for me to assimilate to that in the middle of the school year.  (And to be honest, I didn’t really want to because of my own pride.)  As a result, I encountered some pushback from students and Betsy, and despite the encouragement of my supervisor, I took that personally, which colored my overall perceptions of my winter placement for a long time.
  2. Finding out that I would be sharing a classroom next year with the current biology teacher, who will be going down to 0.5 FTE and only teaching one section a day.  Somehow I’m not sure he will take well to my elementary-classroom decorating scheme (though I guess you never know!).  Again this feeds into my identity insecurity…I feel like I won’t be a “real” teacher without a room of my own, even though I know in my mind that teachers share classrooms all the time and that first-year teachers often get relegated to non-science classrooms or even carts.  I’m just trying to be content with having a SMART Board in the room.
  3. Trying my hand at collaborating over the Web at Edutopia’s PBL Camp.  Apart from my hesitancy with using the online collaborative tools, part of me still clings to “my” ideas and wants to have complete control over my lesson plans.  But I’m realizing that A) I probably need all the help I can get, especially to pull off the interdisciplinary and integrative ideas that I like so much in theory; and B) I do retain control over how a project looks like on the ground.  I think I instinctively clench up against feeling externally controlled, but ultimately it will be my decision (and my responsibility) for what happens in my classroom.

Yesterday was the last day of class in my master’s program, and it was definitely bittersweet to say goodbye to people with whom I’ve spent so much of the past year.  I think that we learned to work effectively with one another, and I do hope I can find that sort of community at my new job.  But in order for that to happen, I have to let others into my classroom, both literally and figuratively, which is a little harder when I don’t quite feel like a peer yet.  Hopefully, that will change, though, and from what I know of the department chair and principal, I’m confident that it will.  We have our staff retreat in about two weeks, and I’m looking forward to meeting my colleagues and getting pumped for this year!

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