Grad school in Spain and why it makes you not blog for 3 months

The saying goes ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’. After these past 3 months, I’d like to make an amendment to that. I think it should go, ‘Time flies when you’re having fun or you’re so busy with work and school that you forget what day of the week and what week of the month, or let’s be honest, what month of the year it is’. I don’t know how it happened (And don’t be smart. I know time ticks away and in 365 days a new year must begin). But honestly, it’s already 2014 and I’m 1/3 of the way through my Master’s degree. What?!

While I’ve been MIA, I’ve learned, changed, been challenged, and been overcome with pride, happiness, and frustration, just to name a few. I have a challenging and rewarding combination of working as a teacher while studying about education. Every Friday, I collapse into my chair at the University with lots of things on my mind from the work week. Sometimes, there is excitement and bliss because one of my students got really excited about a project or raised his hand to talk in English for the first time ever in class. It could even be as simple as one of my kids giving me a hug or screaming ‘Hi, Katie!’ down the hallway. On the other end of the spectrum, there are days I arrive defeated and exhausted. Behavior issues during the week or a lesson plan that crashed and burned affect me as a teacher and as a person. There are days where I feel like I failed and there’s no possible way I could be properly teaching anything. However, it’s the former days that make the latter worth it (not to mention, that much more sweet).

As I sit in my chair on Friday evenings, I have the opportunity to share the good and the bad with my classmates. We share our wins and our fails. We’ll congratulate people who got 5 minutes of good behavior from a troublesome child. Then we’ll comfort those who are way too hard on themselves for issues that happened. We tell them to take a breath and try again next week. Every time, we learn from the class, the teacher, but also from each other. 5 hour classes on a Friday night could be considered cruel and unusual punishment, but it’s always a nice wrap up to the week. Even if 3 cups of coffee are required to power through. Yes, that has happened. No, I’m not ashamed.

This combination of being a teacher and a student at the same time has proven insanely useful. I test out theories and ideas from Friday night’s class during the next week of work. I see the kid’s response or lack thereof. It allows me to learn immediately and it makes me better as a teacher. Because, I don’t know if you know, but the first year of teaching is like a rollercoaster where some days it feels like the track isn’t quite attached properly. Or maybe a fun house. Really cool but sometimes scary when things jump out at you or when nothing looks quite right. It’s stressful when you’re going through it but rewarding once you come out on the other side and see everything clearly again. At least until you go into the next one.

These first four months have shown me that I’m extremely blessed to have these extremes and the support to learn and grow from them. Thank you to all involved near and far.

However, I still hate fun houses.

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