Surviving and Thriving - SOL20 Day 1

My name is Rebecca, and I am really bad at introductions. I am 23 years old and a first-year teacher. 
In August of 2019, I moved to Indianapolis from Chicago to take a teaching position at a Christian 
school. I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade ELA as well as 8th grade Early American History.
A year ago, if you would have told me that I would be where I am now, I would have called you crazy. 
Why wouldn’t I? No one, least of all me, could have ever predicted how much my life would change in
the span of a year.
You see, a year ago today I was in survival mode. Have you ever been there? Have you ever felt like 
you were trudging through the trenches - crawling on your stomach through the mud? Have you ever
felt like you were sinking in quicksand - kicking and fighting to get out, and sinking faster the more you
fought? That’s where I was. I was in a bad spot. So bad that the best part of my day was my 1-3 hour 
commute (three cheers for Chicago traffic) because that was the only part of my day when I didn’t have
to think about school.
My goal every day was just to survive until the end of it. If I could just get to graduation, if I could just 
get through the next month, if I could just get through the week, if I could just get through another 24 
hours - everything would be okay. I was working as hard as I could, sleeping as little as possible, 
making sacrifice after sacrifice because I knew that if I could just hold on, push through, keep fighting 
- I would make it. 
A year ago today I was entering what would become the toughest trial I had ever faced. 
A year ago today I was beaten down, discouraged, and full of doubt.
A year ago today I was questioning whether I even wanted to be a teacher anymore.
A year ago today I was doing my best just to survive.


Today (figuratively), an 8th grader turned in a reflection where he wrote, “I thought this activity was going to be really
 boring and easy. It was actually fun and harder than I thought. I really liked it. Thank you for letting us
do this.”
Today, I had a group of rowdy 7th grade boys so excited and engaged in an activity about the reliability
of online sources that it took one exclamation of, “Wait, wait - guys - she’s teaching a lesson!” to make
them realize that, yes, they were, in fact, learning.
Today, a 6th grader asked me if I have any children and I replied, “Yes, I have fifty-six 11, 12, and 13 
Today, I am thriving.

Over the next 31 days, my goal is to reflect on the ups and downs of the past year. I want to appreciate
the trials that I faced and contrast them to the joy and peace that I have now. Joy and peace as a 
first-year middle school teacher? Yes, you read that correctly. Yes, it seems weird to me, too. In the 
words of Barbara Streisand as Fanny Brice, “Where’s all the suffering before you click? The hard 
knocks, the setbacks you’re supposed to learn from? This is too quick. I haven’t suffered enough yet.”
And yet, God has perfectly placed me where I am now. There is no greater joy and peace than in 
knowing that you are exactly where you are meant to be, at the exact time that you are meant to be 
there, surrounded by people you are meant to be there with. 
I hope that my musings will be encouraging to you, whoever you are. I hope that if you are currently 
surviving, this will encourage you to keep on going. If you are currently thriving, I hope that this will
encourage you to more fully appreciate where you are and where you’ve come from.
My name is Rebecca, and this is a slice of my life.


  1. I understand the feeling of doubting yourself as a teacher and struggling to get through. When I graduated a few years ago, I started subbing and then was coteaching so this year is my official job teaching completely on my own. I am glad that things are turning around for you with teaching! I still have ups and downs in my days but I hope that I’m growing and learning as an educator. I’ve been doing March slice of life for five years and you will love the feeling after the month is up of achieving a goal! And hopefully continue blogging as a result

  2. I really like how you structured your piece. Apprehension about intro which matches your life a year ago. Then a awitch to show the change. Then a confident last line! Thanks for sharing. It is my 29th year as a teacher and I can say the rewards are MANY. But I won't lie. The struggles are also MANY. I suppose it is the same with any profession. Teaching is the only one I know. Thanks for sharing!


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