I have a confession to make: I had no idea what I was doing my first year of teaching. For those of you who’ve been reading my blog for awhile now, this comes as absolutely no surprise to you. But my first year, I was at my first school teaching World History & Econ for the first time, and I was drowning in grading and other paperwork (like BTSA for all you California teachers).
Drowning is an understatement. One time I was so behind on grading that a student came up to me and asked for some feedback on the Personal Finance Project we’d been working on. He’d turned in 4 of the assignments so far and I had not graded even one. To give you some insight, I collect one of these assignments about every other week which means… I was about 2 months behind on grading. Yikes. So I went home, graded all weekend, and gave him the feedback. Then I stayed up late Sunday night because, you know, lesson plans. Someone has to write them. I had no systems. I had no methods. I had chaos. I read the textbooks and scoured the internet for information to make sure I was teaching Econ and World History correctly. It was time consuming and hard.
The hardest part was that I didn’t just want any old lessons. No- I wanted amazing, engaging lessons. I wanted to come in every day with little butterflies in my stomach about my lessons. I wanted to be a little scared to teach them and take risks by handing the classroom over to my students sometimes with awesome projects, simulations, and activities. So I stayed up late. And I had no social life. And I spent my days off grading, grading, grading. That was my reality my first two years of teaching.
Until I got sick. At 23 years old I had blood clots and needed not one, but three procedures and one major surgery to fix the issue. I was so behind on grading and lesson planning that I would just cry, cry, cry. Thankfully, my community group was full of teachers. They came alongside me in love. They wanted to help. They taught me balance. They taught me systems. They taught me to stop taking work home. So my third year of teaching was all about establishing and implementing systems that worked. And over time, I’ve not only created incredible lessons that I love sharing with other teachers, but I love teaching teachers about how I’ve gotten to the point where I almost never take work home.
I grade at school. I am productive during my preps. It’s life changing. Not sure where to start? Check out my free video. Ask for help from those more experienced than you. Find resources online, free and paid. Work smarter, not harder. I know it’ll bless your life.