This tightly cropped and messed-a-little-with picture, courtesy of Kate, describes the student teaching experience.


I’m somewhere around week five’s upward trend. Little comfort, because it won’t last very long.

I’m feeling confident about my ability to keep the rapscallions under control, and I’m feeling more and more confident about my ability to plan a lesson that might even teach something they end up learning, but despair is on the horizon.

I’ve already begun to start planning curricula for next year, and it takes a hell of a lot of time. I’m only three weeks into 11th-grade U.S. history. I’m thankful that its three weeks on presidents, maps and timelines double as the first six weeks of 8th-grade U.S. history.

I’d be fine if I didn’t have anything else to do. The chances of nabbing a job teaching American history are slim to none, so I’ll probably end up teaching a different subject while I plan a whole new curriculum.

It’ll be harder, as I’ll have other obligations. You know: making copies, answering phone calls, doing paperwork, grading papers and homework. Oh, and because I’m a new teacher, I’ll get to coach, sponsor or mentor something.

I’ll be busy enough already with contractual obligations. Inevitably, good teaching will have to wait. How depressing.

Moral of the story? Teaching would be an easy job if we all had secretaries. That would leave us time to plan new, exciting or even worthwhile lessons from the get-go.

  1. KC

    Typical? It takes more than 8 weeks to reach an equilibrium.

  2. Progress comes slowly and perspective, a bit slower than that, I would say. Keep chuggin’ forward.

  3. CW

    This may be cold comfort at the moment, but around the third year it starts to get monumentally easier. I was fairly miserable through student teaching and year one, less miserable year two, and firmly on an upward trend since then. At this point I love almost every day and can’t imagine myself doing anything more rewarding or (gasp!) fun. You eventually learn how/where to save time; you get your materials together; you build a reputation in the building; you can relax and just let it happen; you have less to prove and find more to enjoy. If nothing else, know that you are in good company at the moment, and that it will pass after a few rough years. Hang in there until then….we don’t need to lose any more good teachers!

  4. Third year works, until they change your assignment completely, and then you start over.

    Planning only works when you get a chance to carry out the plan.

    This is the most demanding job you can imagine. Don’t ever forget that.

  5. KC: I think that by “typical” it means “typical for an eight-week cycle.” Needless to say, this is old.

    Kevin: I am, so far at least. Wish me luck, eh?

    CW: I have a fall-back plan for the first year, though I hate even mentioning it. It’s called the textbook. Gag.

    Mr. Darrell: I don’t want to get hung up on the “most demanding job” part — that kind of attitude is what will make me want to quit.

  6. good blog. good job. this is my 2nd official year (i was hired during my student teaching on an emergency credential) and it is harder than my first. i am looking forward to year 7 when it is all supposed to come together. keep doing it though. you are necessary to the survival of our machine.

  7. I certainly hope so. I’m not so sure about this whole teaching thing, but I’ll keep pluggin’ along, for now.

  1. 1 They Have A 20-Year Head Start « On the Tenure Track

    […] Cue down slope. […]

  2. 2 Priorities « On the Tenure Track

    […] After having experienced the highs and lows of the teaching job, and weighing my options, I realized that leaving teaching forever appealed to me. That was back in my first, unblogged semester of student teaching, so instead of heeding that instinct, I kept working at becoming a teacher. It makes no sense to give up now, especially because everyone has a messy, uneven and, until the end, unsatisfying student teaching experience. […]

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