This post originally appeared on the blog Momma with a Teaching Mission.

Oh hello. Yes, I’m still alive. I have 8 days of teaching in the books. I have been absolutely exhausted. And overwhelmed. I always forget how the beginning of the year does that to me.

I have a bit of a nail polish obsession/fetish. But, when you drive the entire way home and then realize you’ve picked all the nail polish off your fingers, you might be stressed.
 
I teach in a departmentalized school. Almost every grade level teacher (K-5) is either a STEM (Science & Math) or Literacy (reading, writing, and social studies) teacher. We all teach 2 blocks of students, each for half the day. Students are flexibly grouped by ability (with the opportunity to move up or down as needed). This year I am teaching 1st and 2nd grade STEM to the lower level learners (which I LOVE), but after teaching literacy last year, it’s hard to get back into the swing of things with math and science.
 
The way I’m teaching both groups is very different, and it has been seriously exhausting. Today is Saturday and I just woke up from a 2 hour nap mid-afternoon. Seriously, I never nap. I’m a mom of 4 (with baby #5 due in December), and we are constantly on the go, and I just don’t have time for it (however, I would LOVE more naps!). But I was just so tired, I couldn’t help myself!! #Realtalk for a minute — One day this week, I even had one of those moments… like why did I ever become a teacher, down and out, depressed, feeling sorry for myself, ugly face crying in the van. It never fails, every year, in the first 3 weeks or so, this overwhelming start to a new school year gets to me. I question my life choices. My husband gets an earful. I debate and wonder why in the world I ever went into this profession.
 
My point is…. I struggle. As educators, I feel like at one point or another, we all have felt this struggle.
And then I had a real heart to heart with myself. Anything that has ever happened in my life that has been MOMENTOUS has been challenging. I am constantly (like many educators I know) trying to become a better teacher. Obviously, my administration thought I could handle this group of kiddos. Otherwise, why would they entrust me with them!?! I’ve been given these kiddos for a reason, and even if they aren’t where 1st graders are ‘supposed’ to be at the end of the year, as long as we have made progress along the way, and I have made them feel loved, then I have done my job.
 
I became a teacher to help, to love, to make a difference. One of my little babes the first week of school, came in without any sort of school supplies, not even a bookbag. Many of the kiddos at our school live in poverty. I e-mailed our guidance counselor, and we have many generous, local businesses that donate supplies for families in need. Our guidance counselor was able to get her a bookbag filled with school supplies. She is a very quiet young lady, and yesterday, she came in and pulled on my sweater and said, “Ms. Ebersole, I have a note for you.”
I’m sure she didn’t write it herself. However, it meant the world to me that someone helped her write it. She has taken that pencil box and every single item of school supplies to and from home each day —proud as can be. This is why I became a teacher. This is why I love my job. This is why the struggle and challenge at the beginning of the year is all worth it. 🙂
 
 
Hang in there my dear friends. I’m not going to lie and say teaching is an easy job. Seriously — it’s THE hardest job ever. BUT.. .all the stress, the picked off nailpolish, it’s all worth it. Wishing everyone an amazing school year 🙂

 

 

***
Momma with a Teaching MissionMelanie has been a 1st grade teacher for three years and is the author of the blog Momma with a Teaching Mission. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and four children, and is expecting baby number 5 in December. She believes all students have the ability to learn and hopes to inspire other teachers with lessons from her classroom. Her passion for reaching young learners can be seen in her resources in her TpT store. Check out her on Instagram , Facebook, and Twitter.