Diverting the Waters

Never have I ever had a week as tough as my first week on the job as a middle school science teacher.

Imagine, for a moment, the feeling of stepping off a cliff into the whirling waters below. Your stomach is clenched, your hands shaking. You want to close your eyes and just jump, but something forces them open, almost as if you are fascinated by your own impending doom. At the same time, the exhilaration is intense. That was me the first day.

Now fast forward two days and I am exhausted. The constant barrage of needs from staff, from students, from myself, has me running around school all day with nary a moment to rest but yet, I feel like I have not accomplished nearly as much as I needed to. On the third day, I break. It’s too much. I feel my tears mixing into the brine of the day, lacerating, overwhelming, crushing.

Three weeks in, I am no longer drowning. Oh believe me, I am still adrift, and scared stiff every time I think about getting in front of my students again, but I am learning. I am learning that the waters will always come in huge, crushing waves, that for at least the first few years, I will fail, and flail, and lose sight of land, but that each time I come back, I come back knowing a little more about how to tread, and where to divert the waters, so that I am being supported, not overwhelmed.