First-Year Teaching

Time flies they say. Time did fly, but I remember almost every moment. I started the year scared out of my mind. My degree was Child Development and Family Studies, which taught me birth-kindergarten teaching approaches. So of course, this girl accepts a third grade teaching position. Head smack. Oh and my license was for NC, so I had to fulfill all the requirements for a teaching license in VA—the hardest state to get licensure in.

I’m pretty sure I was shaking every step of the way. I’ve always chased what would challenge me the most and this was my Mount Everest. Also, for those of you who think teaching isn’t very hard, you tell me how to teach a child to make mixed fractions to improper or to understand that drawing a conclusion does not mean LITERALLY drawing a conclusion. Trust me, it’s not easy.

I remember being scared to meet the parents and making a huge script for the first day of school. Making calendar cards, nametags, and a Super Improver wall. Up until December, I worked constantly from 7:30 A.M. until 5:30 P.M. at the school. Then I would take work home with me to grade or to research new centers, videos, PowerPoints, and fun activities. This continued all the way until mid-May when our end-of-the-year tests were finally over. I was terrified I would make a mistake and be that teacher, and that fear pushed me further than I thought possible.

But I also remember the moments where I would laugh with my team about a kid doing something absolutely crazy or when I would tell my friends a story about my classroom and they would look at me like I was nuts. I remember the way it feels when a kid tells you that you make them happy or when they cheer to see you after you had a substitute, even if it was only for a half-day. The way the students sneakily make you a banner to say goodbye.

There’s so much to teaching, and so much I didn’t even see after just one year. I’m heartbroken to be leaving what I thought two years ago would be my forever. I urge our state, our lawmakers, and our voters to turn teaching around and to make it a career that teachers can stay in. Where they can make a living wage, and don’t have so much stress and paperwork that they can’t teach and get it all done. My test scores were phenomenal (89% pass rate for reading, 84% for math at a rural Title I School), and especially for a first-year teacher. But I’m not staying in. I’m following a dream I’ve had a lot longer than teaching and one I realized I should follow while I have the time. I’m working towards becoming a therapist and working with children on their problems. It’s my true passion and one I hope will work out for me. Thanks Suffolk for the year and all those that supported my dream. This was a crazy ride.



Weird things that occurred in my classroom


1: Somehow we made an acronym out of Scale, Ticks, and Number for thermometers and it became Stan the Thermometer Man. One day I poked the ceiling with my yardstick and the students all started screaming at me about how Stan the Thermometer Man was sleeping up there. Oh, and they all want to take a picture of Stan home with them at the end of the year.

2: Occasionally I told my students stories about the little girl I babysat and she became a celebrity to the students. They finally got to meet her at the end of the year and you would think they were meeting Taylor Swift. They were screaming and jumping up and down all day in excitement.

3: The amount of throw up that happened in my room. I never predicted that as a teacher.

4: Recently my students figured out my car and now whenever we walk back from recess they start screaming “THAT’S MISS ROMM’S CAR. HI MISS ROMM’S CAR!” Terrified my car is going to be egged now.

5: Finding a student’s love diary. That ended with “he cheated on me. He is a cheater, cheater, cheater.” Weirdness.

6: “Miss Romm she was putting vertices up my butt!” Kid talking about the library books corners (vertices are corners and our math lesson) and how a student accidentally pushed him in line and the corners hit him. Glad he learned the math term though!

7: “Well you are just a crackhead!” Something a kid yelled across my room during Morning Meeting. Good times and what a vocabulary for a third grader.

8: “Miss Romm is like an amazing rainbow spectacular butterfly.” How a kid described me that I will never forget.

9: Not in my classroom but there is actually a TV in an outdoor gazebo in Suffolk and the TV works and I am still so confused. Why is the TV outdoors? How does it work?

10: Since I am so young, I told all my students was my age was 106. When I had a birthday it became 107. They have spent the entire school year guessing my age and it drives them nuts. Pretty sure they have never guessed right either.

11: One day I was in the hall monitoring and my student just stopped near me for a few minutes. I asked her what she was up to and she said “you smell like flowers, Flower Woman. I love smelling you.” She calls me Flower Woman all the time now, and I just laugh.