Monday, February 1, 2010

Overwhelmed but not

I can now say I've completed one week of my 15 weeks "due" for this semester.

I always hate the first week of school. The week where you get a thick syllabus from a teacher times four or five, and sometimes six. It's so overwhelming when teachers start talking about all these projects, that will require you to give up on having a social life to complete, and that's only for one class.

This year I'm attempting not to have a repeat of last spring. Level one (junior fall technically) is the first semester in the actual education program. It's also the semester when they attempt to weed out those who are not serious about becoming a teacher. They do this by piling on so much that it is, literally, impossible to keep up. Only those serious enough about being a teacher, would actually put up with it. In order to move on to level two, you must complete all of level one, so this also means you can split it up or drop something. It's a do or die sort of deal.

They accept 100 students each semester for level one, divided into 5 cohorts of 20 each. By level two, they know they only need to plan for 4 cohorts because they will have lost at least 20 students. And for level three, there are a total of 56 of us survivors left. That probably tells you how well their methods work.

They almost lost me last spring.

It was so overwhelming, so difficult, and so stressful, that I really second guessed whether I wanted to be a teacher this badly. But every time I thought about quitting, I remembered how much I enjoyed my internship and working with the kids. Obviously I just needed to suck it up and push onward. Which is what I did.

Level two is a breeze because we get shipped out of the education department to the math and science departments, where the professors are cooler, I mean, assign less work.

So that leads me to level three. The joyous year of two days worth of student teaching and 3 classes, plus the "class" that goes along with your teaching (a.k.a just more work). This year I am determined not to have a repeat of last spring.

Although I was feeling overwhelmed all through the week, I sat down this weekend, with all those syllabi, and planned, planned, planned. Instead of just writing down when things were due, I backtracked and gave myself tasks to do each day so that I was working slowly to the final result, instead of flipping the page, seeing it's due in 3 days, and panicking.

So far it's working, because I don't feel overwhelmed anymore. I have my tasks to accomplish each day, and I am forcing myself to do it. And so far I've knocked off everything due today, and tomorrow for myself. Which is why I have time to write this post.

It feels good to actually be ahead for once in my life. Being ADHD, I tend to need direction, or nothing gets accomplished. Which is why giving myself tasks each day seems like it will work. By knowing my direction for the day, and spreading it all out, no one day is worse than another, I think it will keep me on task and from buring out.

At least I hope it will.

But ask me during the spring break that I don't actually get (thanks to student teaching) and see what I say.

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