Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's the time of year for deep reflection

Beat up, but not broken.

In the midst of the four-day weekend (yay to four-day weekends!) crammed full of cleaning, laundry, grading, lesson planning, eating, sleeping, shopping, and generally being as lazy as humanly possible, I went back and re-read some of my posts from around this time last year.

Around this time last year, I had my first heart attack teaching day (yep, had many more since then), learned about the only surviving WWI vet (wonder if he's still alive?), was intellectually challenged in the MA course (those who can't teach, just do - still feel that way), and griping about having to work with bad teachers (thank goodness all my colleagues are awesome!).

Lots of things have changed. Some things have not. Just like this time last year, I am prepping for parent/student/teacher conferences. I am up to my eyeballs in paperwork. I am looking forward to the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks with my whole heart. I'm so glad my school has more non-school days in the first semester than my student teaching schools. Mr. B took three mental health days between Labor Day and Veteran's Day last year - and who could blame him?

It's getting rougher as the kids get tired - and I get worn out. But I'm still enjoying teaching. It's fun, above all the stress and frustration and nervousness and heart attack days. I've been told more than once that teachers should quit once they believe they have nothing new to learn, and that philosophy has its own value. But I think teachers should quit when they don't see teaching as fun anymore. You've got to enjoy it - ESPECIALLY during the times when:

- You get into an hour long argument with parents about why an ADVANCED LEVEL math course is so difficult. Come on now, folks. If it was easy, it wouldn't be called advanced!

- Your proper desks finally arrive - three months after they were "supposed" to get here, so you had to make do with the 6th grade desks, which meant half my 8th grade students' could touch the underside of their tables with their knees, without lifting their legs up - and because the maintenance crew is understaffed as it is, they end up switching out the old ones for the new ones IN THE MIDDLE OF 4TH PERIOD. Can anyone say chaos? I'm surprised the students even finished the lesson that day.

- You get chewed out by your department chair for giving out extra credit. Only to find her much more amiable about it the next day. My head is still spinning from this mood change.

- You almost get run over by overly-aggressive minivans during afternoon yard duty. TWICE. IN ONE DAY. And when yard duty is over, and you think you are all clear, you get swiped in the head with the side mirror of a passing bus. Seriously. Tennis reflexes saves lives.

- You end up in a yelling argument with a 13-year-old child because he always gets in trouble in class for: a) being nosy about other people's business, b) allowing that nosiness to distract him from his tasks, c) not taking the hint and continuing the distraction when I give him a warning, d) whining and complaining about the consequences I give him for sticking his nose in other people's business and distracting himself as well as anyone within a 2-seat vicinity of him. And he thinks this is unfair, because he sees that I give other students a chance to self-correct. And I tell him that I give everyone a chance to self-correct - it's when they DON'T self-correct *ahem*EXHIBITA*ahem* that I hand out consequences, and this is totally fair and correct and right. But of course the kid is not really listening because 13-year-olds can be hot-headed like that, and I'm not really listening either because I'm tired and I just want him to sit in his stupid seat and be quiet for once. Nope, didn't handle THAT very maturely, did I? ::sigh:: Gotta make this right on Monday.

Um, wait, what was I saying? Oh, yeah, something about enjoying teaching. I think.

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