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Help! I've Already Forgotten More Than I Knew! Kimberly Johnson, a recent graduate of the University of North Dakota, is a first-year English teacher at Valley Middle School in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

It has been a week of ups and downs -- mostly downs. I was, however, able to end Friday on a good note. I finally managed to keep my last two classes under some semblance of control for more than ten minutes. In fact, for the first time in more than two weeks, I actually felt as though I was teaching them something!

I told Laurie last week that I was already contemplating a career change next year. It was frustration speaking, of course, because I am not quite ready to throw away the only career I have ever really wanted. Laurie showed me some letters from other first-year teachers who expressed many of the same feelings and frustrations I've been experiencing. Although it's difficult for me to believe at this point in my career, most teachers say that it does get easier. I'll believe it when I see it!

I have heard often lately that first year teachers are fragile creatures. I have to disagree with that statement. If we are so fragile, why do I keep going back into the classroom day after day? Why do I pick myself up, dust myself off, and climb up in front of those students again and again and again? Yes, this roller coaster ride is dizzying, but I am strong enough to ride it out for the rest of the year.

I just hope I get my mind back! It seems that having to worry about 85 young people is also taking a toll on my memory. The other new teachers and I have an on-going competition over who has become the most forgetful during our first month teaching. Last week, I won. I was so deep in thought about how to teach pronouns to my students that I forgot to put fresh litter in my cat's litter box after cleaning it out. My mind was just not on the task at hand.

Please tell me that my memory will recover eventually from the overload! Tell me that, in the end, I'll climb off this roller coaster with a fully functioning mind!

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Article by Kimberly Johnson
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