Teaching is Hard...

Teaching is hard…

Lately,  I have been thinking this thought a lot.  I think that I just usually have the same thought around this time of year.  Motivating students is always hard.  The holidays are coming.  The first quarter honeymoon period has ended for everyone.  And the students I have always start trying to push boundaries really hard.  I am trying to stay positive.  I am even reading Dale Carnegie’s book on how to stop worrying, but there have been days lately where motivating myself has been a real challenge.  

This week hasn’t helped much.  I had a ton to get completed this week:  Interims, lessons, grading completed, write my script for the soccer banquet, attend the soccer banquet and give my speech (which was really enjoyable), and not to mention trying to get ready for the holidays.  Yesterday was pretty much a meltdown in all the sense of the word, many students were acting out, the video I have used for years by PBS and was there a month ago was no longer there, and the packet I had created to build knowledge around the video was then not worth beans.  I felt like crawling in a hole yesterday, but of course that wasn’t an option.  I trudged through my lesson and then had to find another video to try to piece my lesson back together for the rest of the day.  Everything I tried to do yesterday really didn’t work.  I had to cover a class during a planning period and I also spent my lunch finishing up my interims.  Then after school I had to finish writing my script for the banquet, but when I did finish the room where the printer was located was locked and I needed to find someone with a key to open it.  At least when I went to the banquet everything pretty much ran smoothly.   

Today was better, but mentally I am tired.  It is hard to constantly be the one who keeps students on task and motivated.  It sometimes feels like I am the only motivating factor for all 111 of us.  It is just exhausting.  I always thought that as time went on that it would get easier, but it really has not.  Something things have like my ability to plan a lesson is much quicker now, but in terms of dealing with people it is pretty much the same.  I used to wonder when I was in school why some teachers were kind of grumpy people, but now on the other side I know how hard this can be.  

The thing I think most people need to keep in mind when we are discussing education in general is that teachers are people to.  We spend lots of time worrying about everything and just trying to do a good job.  But sometimes everything just kind of runs over us like a tsunami overtakes a beach.  It takes a toll and some days I feel like I just have to fake it so I don’t cast a shadow over the students who are sitting in my class.  My cooperating teacher back when I was student teaching once told me that as long as the good days out number the bad days that teaching will always be worth it.  I keep trying to remember that I do have joy doing this job I just have to find it again on a regular basis.  

I sometimes get sad when students struggle with what we are trying to do.  I suppose that all students struggle on a regular basis if we as teachers are doing it right.  We are supposed to push their boundaries, but sometimes I worry about their reading levels.  Today we used the book to find information for an activity where they could use their table group to find the information on Washington’s presidency and they struggled and needed a lot of help from me.  I suppose it might have been the general questions I wrote that were not just simple hunt and find, but some summary skills needed.   I also think the book we have is too hard for them, but I had hoped that by now with all the work I had done with them in reading they would be able to do it well.  I do know that they always struggle with vocabulary not only from an academic standpoint, but from a general standpoint as well.  My para’s all said the activity was great for all of the students, but there were times I wasn’t so sure.  One said she really liked how I put the questions on the board and expected them to talk it out because it helped the students on IEPs.    

I tried being a cheerleader for as many of them as I could, but again when kids constantly are asking you if they found the right answer it is just draining.  I hope I kept them moving along.  I guess at the beginning of the year they wouldn’t have even tried the activity because it would have been too hard.  So there is that.  I keep hoping I am making a difference in how they read, but days like today make me wonder how much impact I really am having.  

       Well, for everyone who frequents my blog looking for an upbeat passage I am sorry I just needed to process some things from the last few days.  Carnegie said that getting things out even in writing helps and today I needed all the help I could get.  On a positive note I am going to put down a couple things that were good that happened to remind myself of the good I did accomplish:

1.        I had a student tell me she really liked doing the SOLE and built 4 separate ppts to help share with her group over the weekend we did it.
2.       I had a student this week thank me for allowing her to think her beliefs.  She struggled to find the words at first, but when she gathered her thoughts she said that most adults and teachers keep telling her that what she thinks about Ferguson is wrong.  Or that they try to impose their viewpoint on them.  She basically thanked me for being different.  She was impressed that I had asked her questions about things that I wasn’t sure I had fully figured out yet, but she had an opinion on.  We all kind of worked through it together.   The discussion that class and I had about it was one that just kind of tried to piece some of the events together and let them come to a conclusion.  Her comments really warmed my heart.    

3.       At the beginning of the year I had a principal come tell me that a student she had a conversation with and was having some troubles told her that he wanted all new teachers except for me.  I was interesting and enjoyable. 

4.       I had several people tell me at the banquet tell me that they really enjoyed my presentation and that I was a great public speaker.  Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy talking in front of people.   And, apparently, people like listening to me. 

So all in all, after writing all this out, I guess I am doing ok.  I just got to try to make sure I keep my head on straight.  If any of you out there are also having a rough time this year maybe my story today will remind you that you are not alone. 

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