The Learning Curve

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 06 2011

Project: Head Above Water.

I am trying my best. That’s what I keep telling myself, that I am trying my best, that I am surviving, that I am making gains, that things are never as bad as they seem, that it will get better and that eventually it’ll all be a collection of funny stories about my first semester as a 3rd grade teacher.

Today was a  hard day. My life is kind of a mountain of stress. I’m not as ahead as I want to be in planning, I missed out on an awesome concert tonight because of more planning/stress, I am exhausted, most of my friends (all but 2) are at least 7.5 hours away from me, leading awesome lives that have nothing to do with me anymore, I miss my mother, I miss my home state and am grieving that so much of it is currently engulfed in flames – including a lot of landmarks I’ve held near and dear for more than a decade, I got home to no internet (company turned it off because of “downloading of infringing content…” except none of us have been doing that), one of my roommates is sick and the other is desperately worried about her job, I have had a stabbing ache in my shoulder for the last three days, and now I am getting sick, too.

Most of this has nothing to do with my job during the day, which has a million little chaotic pieces which are no longer fitting together as completely as they seemed to before.

It most definitely gets better; of this I am sure. When I first began teaching Life Skills two years ago, I remember feeling like I was woefully out of my element, unarmed in dangerous territory. It got better and so did I and I came to love it. And now I am here and that cycle will surely repeat itself; it’s just the living through it that kind of sucks.

So this is it. This is what I allow myself in the way of wallowing and sad-sack and then tomorrow I wake up at 5:15 to do it all again, only a little better. That’s pretty much the goal of my day-after-day: Wake up, go to school, teach and encourage, plan, return home, continue planning, email or call somebody that knows and loves me, go to bed without having accomplished as much as I wanted, still positive that tomorrow will be better, then wake up the next day and do it all again, only a little better.

Today wasn’t even that bad at school. I think it’s just the stress and finality of knowing what I’ve chosen for myself, while my closest family member or best friend is about 8 hours drive away and the farthest is a day long flight away on the other side of the world; where my friends speak of a social life I once had and no longer recognize; where migraines are not what happens to other people so much as just part of my life now; where even days when everything goes right, there’s something wrong. Of course it gets better. It totally gets better. But I’d feel better if it was better now.

Oh well. Tomorrow I will wake up and listen to something cheesy and ridiculous and awesome – Pat Benatar? Cyndi Lauper? Aerosmith? – and face the day. A little better is not bad.

4 Responses

  1. Stay strong! Your fellow first-year CMs are right there with you. By the way, I’m not sure what you’re into, but Something In The Water by Brooke Fraser ( is a deliciously cheesy and happy song to start your day. =D

    • thelearningcurve

      omg that’s a great song to start the day off with. i think i have to make a “push through it” mix as i prep throughout the day. thanks for the rec!

  2. Erica

    It will get better. Been there and know exactly how you feel. Keep truckin’ :) …and know that all those other corps members are suffering/ growing with you.

  3. J. Archibald

    I can totally relate to your blog post. Finished my first year last year and lost so much else in my life – difficult to maintain friend and family relationships, sleep deprived, constantly stressed by all that it requires and what you require of yourself for these amazing kids. I admire your attitude and know that it’s so hard to maintain, but kuddos to you for keeping your head up. I found your blog inspirational and a great use of your Life Skills coaching. God bless.

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