Let's get something straight. I am not the best teacher in the world. I am not even the best teacher that I could possibly be.
I have a lot to learn.
I have a lot to practice and improve upon.
I make mistakes on an hourly basis.
When I speak with different people, and hear their stories, I realize: Hey. I'm pretty good at this. Not the best. But pretty good.
Story #1: Teacher A has 3 classes of 15-18 students in each class. She's drowning in paperwork. She wonders in awe how I manage 5 classes of 30-35 students worth of paperwork.
Story #2: I have a student whom I shall call Elf, because he has super large ears. He tends to bounce off the walls, distract others and succumb to distractions. It's constant. It's annoying. It's one of the reasons why I've had a serving of Hagan Daz everyday for the past two weeks. It takes every fiber of my being to be patient with him. To keep up the energy. To make sure he's on task - or as on task as a kid like him can possibly be. Yet, I still have a good impression of him, on a personal level. He's not malicious, or hateful, and even though he drives me nuts he hasn't been outright defiant or rude towards me. He has good days and bad days. He tries - usually. He raises his hand to participate - and is actually pretty bright, under all the obnoxious shoe squeaking and bird whistles.
And then, one of his teachers from last year says, "You think he's horrible. Just imagine him on his worst day, multiply it by 100, and that's how he is with his mother all the time. She has given up on him, and he knows it. He's probably given up on her. Mr. Awesome 7th Grade English Teacher had to call Elf out on his rudeness to his own mother when they were having a parent conference last year. Actually, the way you describe him makes me think he's really matured since last year."
I am so glad I am not in his mother's shoes. That poor, ignorant, worn-down woman.
Elf doesn't respond to detentions though. I'll need a different tack on this one.
Story #3: SPED teachers deserve their own castle in heaven, and I have the utmost respect for them. But there is one at my school who seems just as ditzy as some of the students. She calls an IEP meeting, then doesn't give the time for it. She calls the time for it, but doesn't give the location. She calls the location, but doesn't actually tell the necessary teachers until literally 5 minutes before it's supposed to start, and then decides to call a new day because no one can make it. But when she calls for a meeting on a new day, SHE DOESN'T GIVE THE TIME OR LOCATION, NOR DOES SHE TELL THE APPROPRIATE GEN. ED TEACHERS. Again.
And then she meets me in the staff copy room and gives me a half-hour spiel on how the kid is doing, asking for the same from me in return, when I no longer have the kid in my class anymore due to a schedule change THAT SHE MADE HERSELF.
Um. Yeah. So, that's why I think I'm not so bad at what I do after all. I can't be all bad when Elf actually follows directions from me, or the daily 160 homework papers is a breeze to correct and grade, on top of the weekly 160 test and quiz papers, on top of the 160 bi-monthly appetizer papers, on top of the 160 quarterly benchmark tests, on top of whatever other papers that float through my hands regarding bulletins and assignments and projects and syllabi and progress reports.
And that's not counting the 22 chapters worth of lessons to keep organized.
On a lighter note: earthquake! On the Great California Shake-out, no less.