A little bit crazy! And some goals!

So I’m feeling totally and utterly overwhelmed with the impending onset of school. I have tomorrow to keep working, and then we have three days of activities with our advisory (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) and then starting next Monday we have the first day of classes.

File:The Scream.jpg

My anxiety level is at about a billion. On a scale of 1 to 10.

With the exception of my first year teaching, this is possibly the worst I have ever remembered it being. I think I wanted to post this to let any other teachers who are feeling this way (especially while seeing all the excitement and incredible first-day-activities abounding on the internets) know: it’s okay.

It’s okay.

At least… I think it is.  (Even Lisa has been in a funk.)

For me personally, my anxiety is coming from a few places:

1. the idea of teaching a bunch of new students, and having to develop a positive rapport with them from scratch again
2. teaching a class which is new to me (advanced precalculus) with very little supporting material
3. co-teaching/collaborating with two teachers, when I have never truly collaborated before
4. having a giant class of 19 (in my school, this is monstrous) and not knowing how I’m going to manage
5. being on supervision & evaluation cycle this year
6. anticipating the late nights every day after school, which will come out of having to write/create calculus reassessments, plan precalculus lesson plans and smartboards from scratch, and having to re-work lots of multivariable calculus homework problems since I haven’t taught the course in a year
7. mentoring a math teacher new to the school
8. starting up (with the help of another teacher) a math-science journal
9. not having any concrete goals set for the year, yet

I think the solution for my anxiety is to work a crazy amount (obviously, that will help). But also to set the bar low. Usually by now, I have two or three very concrete but “large” things I want to do this year. It’s stressing me out that I haven’t decided what they are. Maybe, though, this needs to be a year of stasis. While I’m working on a new course, maybe I need to be okay not doing anything dramatic.

Although not set in stone, perhaps my goals this year should be something as simple as:

(1) Be sure to provide formative feedback to kids in all my classes, at least once a week
(2) Really endeavor to use groupwork (and part and parcel of this, whiteboarding) in precalculus, and be sure to give feedback to groups at least once every two weeks so they have a record of their strengths and places they can improve.

These are weaknesses of mine, so they’ll bring me forward as a teacher. But aren’t so overwhelming in their scope as to feel impossible.

There’s a 50% chance that as I try to work out the beginning of classes this year, I will be posting a lot. And there’s a 50% chance is that I go a little crazy and have to hide for a few weeks while I get settled.

With that, night all!

PS. Since it feels weird to post without any equations, videos, documents, I am going to include this picture of me in front of a stained glass window at my school.



  1. That “large” class of 19 makes me scowl, I’m preparing for my Pre Cal sections of 30 to balloon to 35. I already begged the PreAP teacher to keep as many kids as possible afloat in there.

    But! I share your anxiety. I was really worried about the start of the year and it was like, the calmest first week of school ever. My kids are great, my student teacher shows promise, and I’m looking forward to the fun we’re going to have. I’m sure it will all melt away as soon as they walk in the door.

    I have Pre Cal thoughts aplenty if you need ideas! I can’t wait to see if you can develop some procedures on math white boarding. I have that tabled as my second big idea this year.

  2. I just laughed out loud when I read the phrase “giant class of 19”! Try 32 ninth graders which is what I have this year in all four of my freshmen classes. Talk about a zoo! But seriously, it will all come together and you will have them eating out of your hand in no time. Here’s to hoping you have a great start to a great year!

  3. I feel like we’re in the same boat! I found out about two weeks before school started that I would be teaching a Pre-AP Pre-Calc class (in addition to Geometry and AP Calc) and I feel like a new teacher all over again! I’m also implementing SBG and common core in all my classes, so even the familiar classes seem new again. And I’m mentoring two teachers. Needless to say, I am feeling just a bit overwhelmed.

    But thank you for sharing your experiences. It’s always good to know that other people out there are feeling the same way! I hope you keep posting because I like hearing what you have to say. Good luck with the first week!

  4. “Knowing” you, Sam, you shouldn’t worry about #1 and #5 — be yourself and you’ll blow them away. #7: You mean there was a job opening and you didn’t let me know?! #6: Be good to yourself, you always tell us that. #4: Whatever.

  5. First word to come to my mind when I saw that picture: MYTHIC!

    Knowing you, it’d be weird if you weren’t going crazy right now. But how about a goal of carving out a non-zero amount of personal time?

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