Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mikelle, a 1st Grade Teacher?

I can't even believe how long it has been since I have blogged. I used to be an everyday or every other day blogger. When I would miss a few days, I would feel awful. Now, I haven't blogged in months. What have I been doing you ask that has taken all of my time? Teaching twenty-three 1st graders. 

Nate and I got back from London at the end of the July. We lived his parents in Layton, UT until we figured out what we were doing and where we were going to live. It is quite the adjustment moving from country to country like that, but we got through it. We both missed London terribly but new that our time there was through. 

The next day after we got to Utah, I started looking for teaching jobs. I didn't want to waste any time. I had done a couple Skype interviews while in London and one phone interview. The phone interview was for a 2nd grade position in a charter school in Salt Lake and it went so well. The principal and I talked for an hour and it was natural. She told me she usually hates phone interviews but she loved me and was very impressed with me even though she has never met me. She told me it was between me and another girl named Mikelle. :) Weird huh? Anyway, the other Mikelle got the job and I was completely bummed. I was mad that I didn't get a fair chance by being there in person to give it my all. I also did a Skype interview with a school in Toeele. This went awesome! They were so impressed with me that I had taught in London over the past year. Shortly after the interview, he sent me an email saying how impressed he was with me and how he would be getting back with me soon. I pretty much knew I had the job. Nate and I then travelled to Morocco for a week. It was in Morocco that he emailed me and offered me the job. I was ecstatic that I actually was offered a teaching job but it just didn't feel quite right. Tooele is so far away from everything and that was our main hold back. I emailed him back and politely declined. 

So as soon as we got to Utah, I didn't want to waste anytime. Gail, my mother in law, let me borrow one of her suits to wear to drop off resumes at the schools. She teaches 4th grade so she had the proper interview attire. All I did for about 2 weeks was search online for jobs, apply to them, drop off resumes to tons of schools, and wait for calls. It was stressful and discouraging at times but I had hope that it would all work out. I had some crazy interviews and funny experiences with the whole thing. 

I finally decided to apply to Canyons School District. There were 3 jobs on their website that I qualified for. I had my screening interview at the district office and aced it. She told me that she loved me and was so impressed. About 10 minutes after I left that interview, Todd Theobald from Willow Canyon called me and scheduled another interview at his school for their 1st grade position. I was so excited! My sister's friend, Melissa Winter, worked there as a 3rd grade teacher and gave me some great reviews. I felt like the interview went so well but he told me I wouldn't know for about a week if I got the job or not. 

That week was the longest week of my life! I kept on applying for other jobs and sending out more resumes just to stay on the safe side. I didn't want to be back at zero again if I didn't get the job at Willow Canyon. I had another interview at Jefferson Academy for a Kindergarten position in Kaysvillie. That interview went amazing as well. I knew that they wanted me after it finished but they couldn't quite say it yet. They even gave me a tour around the school as if I was already hired! When I got into the car after that interview I had a new voicemail from Todd telling me that he wanted me to call him. I didn't know what to do! I knew that I pretty much had 2 jobs available to me and I didn't know which one I liked more. I called Todd back that night and he offered me the job. I told me that I was thrilled but I would like to think about it and would call him back that night. Nate and I discussed the pros and cons of both jobs, locations, grades, teams, principals, and tried to figure out the best choice. I also had 2 other interviews scheduled for that coming Monday for 2 other schools. Before the difficulty was finding a job and now it was choosing which job to take. I never knew that would be so hard! For some reason I just felt so good about taking the Willow Canyon job. I loved the principal there and new that he would make my first year teaching so nice and comfortable. A few hours later, I called Todd back and told him that I would be thrilled to take the job! :) I quickly called my other interviews and cancelled them. 

That next morning, Jefferson Academy called me and offered me the Kindergarten job. I told them that I had already accepted another job the night before. He was so bummed out and in complete shock. I think they thought for sure that they had me. He was silent on the phone for a couple seconds. Then he told me how sad he was but he hoped for the best for me. I felt so torn and I just hoped that I had made the right decision. 

About a week later, I got a call from the superintendent at Jefferson Academy. He asked me why I didn't take the job. He said he wanted to know so they could know how they can hire quality teachers like me in the future. He asked how I came to my decision to choose the other school over theirs and what was the deciding factor. He asked me what they could have done differently to alter my decision. I felt like it was an old boyfriend that I broke up with calling me for some closure to our relationship. It was an odd, awkward call. 

Still, I felt really good and excited about my new 1st grade job at Willow Canyon in Sandy! Nate and I went out to celebrate by getting Sonic half price milkshakes after 8. :) We were moving to Sandy and we were excited to finally have a plan. Less than 24 hours later we signed a contract for an apartment in Sandy just a couple miles from my new school! It was all working out!

This excitement soon turned to COMPLETE FEAR. A couple nights after I had accepted the job I had a nervous break down. I started feeling completely overwhelmed with everything that I had to do to prepare for a school year. It hit me that I only had 1 month until school started. It hit me that I had absolutely nothing ready, nothing unpacked, no supplies, no classroom decorations, NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING! I knew that I knew how to teach. I felt very confident in that after teaching in London for a year, but I realized that I had no clue how to set up and start my own class. I had no clue what to buy. I had to set up all of my procedures and make all the rules. I completely freaked out and was bawling my eyes out. I haven't cried so hard in a long time. Nate wondered where I was and came to find me. He heard crying in the bathroom. He asked if I was ok. I burst into tears even more! He listened to all of my concerns, comforted me and held me talking me through it. He told me that he would be there for me every step of the way. He was the sweetest most comforting husband at that moment and exactly what I needed. 

From that next morning on, pretty much until the first day of school, I was completely sick to my stomach. This lasted 1 month. I was nauseous every day until school started. Literally everyday. I felt like I was going to throw up all day long. I have never had stress affect me that way before in my life. It was so weird. I had to force myself to eat. Even on my mission when I was completely stressed out at times, I never felt nauseous.  My mom joked with me that I was pregnant but I knew that wasn't it. I was just completely and utterly stressed out and that was how my body was handling it. It was awful.

The school was being remolded over the summer so all the classrooms were empty. August 16th, my birthday, was the day that we were allowed to move in to our empty classes. My mom and dad were in town so they came and helped me set up my class. There was so much to do and I had a never ending list of items to buy, create, make, and set up. It was an daunting task and the nausea continued. 

About a week before school started we had a big faculty meeting and then we had the day to set up our classroom. An open house was scheduled in a couple days for the parents and kids to come and meet their teacher. There was so much pressure to make my class look perfect, organized and ready. It was so hard. I literally didn't sleep and was working 11 hour days. I would walk into my classroom and just start bawling because I didn't even know where to start because there was just so much to do. It was completely overwhelming. The nausea continued. I even started losing weight. 

School finally started at the end of August, on the 27th. I was literally so nervous. I walked outside to pick up my kids. They all looked so nervous too. They were silent and had their new school outfits on and their new shiny backpacks all snug tight onto their little backs. They were completely adorable and I started feeling more excited than ever. I couldn't believe that these were actually MY students and that I would have them every day and not have to give them up. All the moms and dads were cheering them on as they proudly walked into the school as 1st graders. They were video recording them and yelling their names. Even a few moms followed us into the school and took pictures of the kids at their desks. :) I knew that wasn't allowed, but I couldn't get mad at all because I new that that was totally something that I will do when I have kids. 

A little boy named Izacc first saw me and with a huge grin on his face handed me this can that was wrapped up in pretty paper and read, "I CAN hardly wait to be in your class." It was full of candy. So cute. I read them a book called, "First Day Jitters." It is about a girl being nervous to go to school but in the end you realized that it is actually the teacher nervous to go teach her class. I told them that I was just as nervous as they were. I think that made them feel better. 

After that first day of school the nausea completely stopped. I felt like myself again! I started getting really excited about being a teacher of these adorable kids. Now it is a couple days before Christmas break and I can't believe how fast time has flown by! I am almost half way through the school year. 

These last almost 4 months have been life changing for me. I have had the time of my life. I love each of these kids so much. They make me laugh so hard some days that I have actually cried in class. They are hilarious! They are the sweetest as well, so nice to each other and so honest. There isn't any tattling or, "You butted!" like I have heard in other classes. They love each other and are all friends. They are all so smart too and they try so hard. I can honestly say that I would adopt any one of them and take them as my own child. They are that sweet. I really don't want to think about the day that I have to say goodbye to them at the end of the year. It is going to be awful. 

I feel like I have grown so much as a person. I have accomplished something hard that I never thought was possible. I have done something that used to scare me and now I do it with ease. I am confident and comfortable in my shoes as a 1st grade teacher and I am having a complete blast. :) I feel like I was made for this job sometimes. I love being silly with the kids and making them laugh. I love helping them learn and finding new ways to make things click. I love exciting them with fun things and seeing how happy their little faces get! It is such a rewarding job. 

I will do another post soon about all the funny things that they say all the time but here are some pictures from the year......Enjoy!

 The School Fun Run!
 The Class Store!
 Dinosaur Museum Field Trip
Santa's Stuck Craft and Writing
 Opening Letters from Santa's Elves!


  1. I'm so happy for you Mikelle! I'm sure you are the best teacher! Those kids are so lucky to have you! It's funny that when I was young I never thought of my teachers being nervous, but when I became a teacher I realized that I was more nervous for school than I ever was as a student!

  2. Oh my gosh I grew up really close to Willow Creek in sandy! In fact, a lot of my friends growing up went there :) I love Sandy. And congrats on the teaching job!! Your students are lucky to have you :) I think first graders are the best too!

  3. I loved reading this, Mikelle! What a special experience - thank you so much for sharing! I'd love it if my children had you for a teacher. :)