I finally put up my Canadian Tire Halloween decorations up in the classroom today! Nothing too fancy, just a trail of plastic spiders, as well some mini pumpkins hanging from the ceiling.
I initially didn’t mean to write too much other than that, but I had a realization … during my first few years in the north, I felt too stressed to care about this kind of stuff.
It was my first time teaching as a full-year teacher in a public school. I had four courses in total: one which I had previously taught, but three others I was unfamiliar with. I struggled on a daily basis with classroom management and was constantly tired. There were many days I absolutely dreaded going to work.
I can`t say that I liked my job much at this point. Part of this was a lack of confidence too, as I was intimidated by `perfect teachers` who always had perfect-looking classrooms. I knew I had a knack for the actual process of teaching kids, but being able to juggling it all – running a full classroom with minimal issues, always having everything properly laminated and hole-punched, having beautifully decorated doors every month – none of these things were even in my peripheral vision. I was just trying to figure out my job!
It slowly dawned on me that it was silly for me to compare myself to others. In fact, I realized that it was simply crippling to do so. Only when I decided to stop comparing myself could I start feeling relaxed. And as long as I performed at my best, that`s what counts. We wouldn`t be able to progress anywhere if we constantly used other colleagues as a professional yardstick.
Fast forward to today, my high school classroom is running much more smoothly. My students are more independent, there’s less shouting and I have very few behaviour issues to deal with. I don’t spend my recess picking up everything off the floor (although I still have to deal with candy wrappers). My stinkeye works quite well and my students trust me. Altogether, my skills as a classroom teacher are becoming more well-rounded. I can confidently say I feel happier on a day-to-day basis and WANT to decorate. And why not? A little bit of colour does brighten up the room!