Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 03 2013

Where did all the confidence go?!

Sunday, anxiety riddled mess of a Sunday.

Sitting in a Little Rock apartment that is not mine, with Poppy the poodle. Set up around the coffee table with one laptop playing A Bug’s Life, my phone playing Pandora, and this laptop being used for work. Grading in front of me, along with a bottle of water, a cup of coffee, and sunlight pouring through the balcony door.

I love my jobs, I love my jobs, I love my jobs. For some reason in this moment I feel horrifically incompetent at both. What is the root?

It is beginning a new unit on a new text tomorrow, and having no confidence in it. All that first year teacher dread piling up and trying so hard to pull me back into murky water. Ohhhh, I remember drowning, I remember learning to tread water. I remember how hard it was to learn a content, how to teach it, then teach it.

I’m grateful that in three years I learned how to be semi-successful at teaching writing, at least, and with building relationships. But now, year four, this literacy thing. Teaching reading, teaching social studies. Puts me right back in first year teacher mode. I know the steps, I know the resources, but I feel just as stressed as all the first year ATC teachers I plan for. My heart all clenched up, my doubts bubbling over my scheduled productivity. Grade a quiz, wallow in anxiety, grade a quiz, aimlessly look through resources, grade a quiz, send a text, grade a quiz, update the blog, grade a quiz, debate how to go about planning for this week…

We all feel like this. I have been through it, so I am well prepared to get through it again. I’ve been teaching for 11 weeks already!! What am I whining about! I am perfectly capable!

But alas, confidence begone and LR temptations enter stage left, through the golden light on a perfect fall day. Doubt, doubt, doubt.

I tell myself “You need a break.” Then I look at the past four days in which I’ve had no school: wasn’t that a break? Then back to myself: yes but you spent two of those days at a conference and one doing ATC training. Surely you still deserve a break?

October leaves, November dawns, six months until I will be entering year five of teaching or year one of directing full time. Weight adds, weight presses, Sunday rolls on.

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