At 7am I am usually far from awake. Well, not far really. I wake up, go to the bathroom, if I have a headache, which is about half the time, I take some Excedrin, and I go back to sleep for another three or four hours. I rarely “wake up,” I just sleep walk.

Today, however, I got back to bed and somehow the fact that I’m going to have to student teach in a few months just flitted into my conscious mind. I batted it away and groggily attempted to snatch back the sleep that was trying to slip away. No such luck. Try as I might, thoughts of this new undertaking persisted. How am I ever going to do this? Are there lesson planning resources out there for the new textbook? Do I even remember how to write a lesson plan? Revolution? Constitution? Civil War? Reconstruction? Who was President in 1836? What does the 23rd Amendment say? In what year did Texas join the Union? How am I ever going to do this???

And with that I was very definitely awake.

I got up, put on some clothes, and made an attempt to dig in to my teaching resources. I say attempted because it look like I didn’t save as many of my resources from my last stint student teaching as I thought I did. Also “attempted” because right now my hips suck and somehow I pulled a muscle in my back while sleeping two nights ago, so I couldn’t get down on the floor to really get easy access to all of my books and notebooks and I quickly got out of breath and dizzy, standing half bent over, trying to sift through my papers. So I really didn’t get anywhere with that little adventure. And some of you will look at that and say, “Adventure, really? She got up, looked in a bookshelf, and didn’t find anything.” Those of you who suffer from similar chronic illnesses will know exactly what I mean when I call it an adventure, when I say that it took me a half an hour of sitting on the couch, taking deep breaths and just being still, to recover from my little adventure.

Sometimes I think I’m crazy to think that I can get through this whole teacher certification process when I have trouble getting through a load of laundry. I’ve been feeling especially discouraged lately because physically I just haven’t been able to cut it. Starting in early February, the joints in my legs started flaring up pretty badly. It’s mostly my hips, but when you throw one joint out of alignment, the rest soon fall out, too. So far every joint in both legs, plus my right shoulder, elbow, and wrist (from using my arms to lift myself out of a seated position) have been in major amounts of pain. And now I’ve got a pulled muscle in my back to deal with, in addition to the pain in my hips, so it’s doubly hard to do something as simple as walk to the kitchen. And I think that I’m going to be able to work a seven-hour day, five days a week? Stand in front of a class? It’s going to take some serious adaptations -lots of breaks to sit down and rest, lots of naps after school, lots of devices that I haven’t thought up yet. It’s scary. It’s exciting. If I succeed…I can’t even imagine how good it would feel to succeed in this endeavor. I’ll have proven to myself that I can accomplish a task that’s truly difficult – something that I don’t know that I’ve ever really done.

That’s not to say that I haven’t been successful when I’ve tried to do things in the past, it’s just to say that nothing that I’ve accomplished up to this point has really felt all that difficult, academically at least. Part of that is that I tend to only continue with things that come to me naturally. School has always been one of those things; with a minimal amount of effort I’m able to get pretty good results. I don’t have to break my back - it just comes. Student teaching is not like that at all. It’s a real challenge. The sheer amount of work involved floors me; putting in a full day of teaching and then going home only to face several more hours of reading, researching, and lesson planning. Then there’s the creativity aspect, one that puts forth another real challenge for me. Trying to come up with lessons that conform to the university’s teaching standards, while being interesting, stimulating and challenging for twelve and thirteen year olds is a tall task. Trying to balance that and my personal life? Hard. Trying to balance that, my personal life, and major chronic illnesses? I’m hoping that it’s not simply too much.

Enough worrying for today. The sun is shining, it’s supposed to get up into the high 70’s, the Little Man is home from school this week for Spring Break and we’re going to plant some seeds for our vegetable garden, and I have a whole month to worry about school before school starts, so enough worrying for today!


  1. I did my student teaching many moons ago, and I had kindergarten first, then 5th grade. Both assignments were exhausting on so many levels, I can't lie about that. I was very nervous on how I would plan things, what ideas to come up with, how I would feel every day. And it wiped me out! But there are so many resources available online now for ideas on lesson plans and how to teach kids. The internet has come a long way since I student taught in 1997. Definitely use it!! I hope at least that will provide less stress and more help as you try to prepare for your teaching!

  2. It really is a huge help to have the internet. At this point I already know what school I'm going to, so I have access to their website which has given me the info I need to order the two textbooks that I'll be using and the lesson planning software for those textbooks. As soon as I learn more about my specific assignment (as early as three weeks from now) I'll know exactly what time period I'll need to be covering (either pre-Columbian America to 1812 or Reconstruction to the Industrial Revolution). So really, I have the whole summer to plan my lessons and it wont be nearly as bad as it was when I was in the thick of a full-time semester before student teaching. I'm also thinking about going back on chemo as a semi-permanent measure, which should allay a majority of my physical symptoms.

  3. That'll be great to know what you'll be teaching ahead of time so you can prepare! I hope you'll be feeling well when it's time to start student teaching. I'll be thinking about you, and I'll say some prayers that it won't be so bad as you might think!! Good luck to you! :)