In the Home Stretch of the First Year

In the Home Stretch of the First Year

This year is more than halfway over, and that is completely impossible for my brain to process. Exactly a year ago, I was finishing up student teaching, getting ready to graduate, and regularly crying over the fact that I might not secure a teaching position.

Now, I have my own classroom (that is slowly but surely becoming more routined and well-balanced) and a place that feels like home. This year has been nothing if not stressful and dynamic.

I feel like I'm growing into myself as a person and really defining what it means to be me and to be happy. But there's also been a lot of hurdles getting to that point. Learning to manage stress as a first-year teacher is no easy feat, at least from my experience.

I am constantly second-guessing my choices in the classroom and whether I'm performing as a successful educator--then again, I guess every good veteran teacher is doing those things, as well.

Just finding my footing this year has been hard. I don't want to be the first-year teacher that says no too often, but I also don't want to be the person spreading myself to thin.

I don't want to seem like I don't want anyone's help, but I also want to show that I'm qualified and able and try things myself first.

On top of that, teaching is EXHAUSTING. I end each week with a desire to go out with friends and live my best life as a 22-year-old, and instead I end up falling asleep by 9 on a Friday night. Shout-out to my friends that make fun of me for this every week!

Regardless of how this year is going, I've definitely learned a lot about myself, both as a teacher and as a person, as I've tackled this first year of teaching. Here's what I'm starting to figure out:

I have no idea what I'm doing.

Literally at any moment, I don't know what's going on. Whether it's in the classroom, in my social life, or with myself. I always have a plan, but sometimes those plans don't work out. I'm learning to be OK with sometimes just not knowing what direction I'm headed. I'll figure it out on the way.

I am too much of a perfectionist.

New goal? Chill. Out. I always knew I was type-A, but wowza. Teaching has taught me that sometimes I have to be OK with a mess. I sincerely cannot leave my classroom after school and head home until everything is cleaned up and in order, and it is a PROBLEM. I'm not a pushover; I always have my students clean up the messes they've made. But MY teacher desk, cabinets, shelf space, etc. all need to be in perfect order before I walk out the door or I legitimately won't have a good night. You could say this is kind of a good thing, because I'm always orderly and ready to go. BUT it also means I put an incredible amount of pressure on myself when there's no need for it. I'm working on it.

I'm allowed to make time for myself.

I feel like I spent the whole last year of college under a mountain of stress and constantly anticipating what was going to come next. I still do that (see above), but now I also try to make time for myself. I really do my best to get all of my school work done AT school. Then I can come home and I have the night to do whatever the heck I want. Sometimes that means I get a good workout in, other
times I grab coffee and catch up with a friend, and sometimes it just means I get to veg out in front of the TV and turn my brain off for a while. It's empowering to just stop thinking and going for a minute. It's nice to just enjoy what I want to enjoy without any added pressure.

I still hate cooking. A lot.

Maybe one day this will change, but even with more time to do it and more resources (a.k.a. I don't have a college kid's budget anymore), I still just don't like it. Listening to podcasts during, trying a meal prep service (Hello, HelloFresh!), and picking easier dishes to make... I've tried it all, and I still hate it. I'm not a cook. I don't think I ever will be. If anyone reading this has a suggestion to get me to enjoy cooking more, please help a struggling chef out.

I need a hobby.

Hence, this blog. In high school, I played tennis. In college, I had homework and studying and my part-time job. Now, I don't really have anything. I go to work and I come home. I try to see friends as much as possible and I've definitely given Netflix and Hulu a good chunk of my time, but I don't really have anything to do that I'm passionate about (outside of teaching). I guess I'm hoping this blog gives me an outlet and becomes something I can put time into, because let's face it, I need a hobby.

I have really great people in my life.

If nothing else, this year taught me that I surround myself with the right people. I have an awesome guy that supports me in everything I do and is constantly there to cheer me up, make me laugh, or just chat with me--even all the way from Cincinnati. I have the best friends in the world. College ending really let me latch onto the people that I knew I wanted in my life for the long-haul. I have found a group of super supportive teacher friends at my school. I just feel really fortunate to have the people in my life that I do. I'm never without someone to lean on for support, laughs, or love.

This year has been a year of growth, and it's not over yet (because there's still 2 months left of school and a summer full of hard decisions to make!). I can't wait to see where I am a year from now, but hopefully by then I like cooking more.



I'm Harvest. I'm a fifth-year teacher, and I teach 1st grade. I also like to read. My goal with this blog is to give myself an outlet to reflect, share ideas, and grow creatively.

Redwood City, CA