Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lessons from my first year

On the eve of my second first day of school I pulled out my journal from last year. It has only one entry, which I wanted to share. It is me in an extremelt vulnerable, anxious, and distraught place (I know...on the first day of school?!). I wanted to share it because I remember thinking "how will things get better?" They weren't always better, but they weren't always bad. I wanted the first years out there to know they are not alone and remind the seasoned professionals the same. I enter my second year tomorrow and I am having PTSD-lile flashbacks. I am optimistic for the best and prepared for the not so great.

August 29, 2013

First day of school. Excited. Confident. Long to do list to get prepared.

8:00 Starbucks--There's always time
8:30 Greet as many teachers as I can and wish them a great first day. Positive climate and relationships.
9:00 up to your eyeballs in kindergartners.

By 10 you're working 1:1 to alleviate behavioral aggression. PE teacher was hit. Principal too.

Mimicker arises. Almost worse by the end of the day. Running after a bolter. Trying to grasp what comes next.

Meet parents who were "waiting for the call." Feels like meeting is happening around me. To do list grows. Social stories. Token boards. PPT in two days. SPED laws you don't know yet. You barely know your caseload.

Stressed. Overwhelmed. Defeated. 

What do I so? Do I really know anything? In over my head. How do I ask for help without seeming incompetent? 

Schedule 15+ meetings. 2 initial evals. All by the end of September. 

In over my head. 
Sob at home. Sob in shower.
Anxiety attack.
Negative self talk.
Easily irritated.
Need space.

Stressed about tomorrow. What do I do first?

Exhausted and only mildly hopeful...

This journal entry sums up what it felt like to be me on that first day. I didn't want to go back but I did. The tears didn't end there. The anxiety didn't subside until summer. Kids came and went. Others flared up. Its all part of our job. Tomorrow new kids will arrive and I may not be any more ready for it than last year. That's okay. I will do my best. 

I never wrote any more in my journal. I decided to challenge myself this year and write one positive each (school) day to try and help me reframe the bad days and celebrate the good. My first entry is tonight. It involves a tough kiddo who I spoke to today. I called dad to share a major curveball for tomorrow. Dad put the student on to say hi, which shocked me. He said he had lots of his original comic book stories to tell me (94 to be exact) and said he had just done the ice bucket challenge! I was shocked that he even got on the phone period, but to share two things (and subconsciously indicate he was excited to see me) is major step! I hope it lasts, but recognize his current affections are fleeting. But for today it is my positive and I'm excited to see what other moments I appreciate along the way. 

Until next thyme, 


  1. This blog is great! I have checked out your blog before and am actually creating my online portfolio to allow future potential employers to look over after my interview. I will be graduating with my EdS in School Psychology in a few short months! Thanks for creating this site and adding tons of helpful information and advice!

  2. Having just about completed my first year, I can totally relate that it's a lot of ups and downs. I remember right before starting the job, my supervisor told me "the first year is always the hardest year." As you found yourself, it's important to stay positive and stay hopeful that it gets easier with time. Would you say your second year is going much more smoothly than your first year?