Another day of my life has come and gone. Sometimes I wonder: did I actually accomplish anything today? Sure, I went to work. Sure, I tried teaching. But did that actually amount to ANYTHING?
Let me just re-cap yesterday. The day ended. It was less than great. I knew I was getting observed today and I told my class that we would be getting observed and please behave. So, I told them that on Tuesday and then yesterday (Wednesday) they acted a fool. I was just so over everything. I generally figured I would have my observations today and I might as well just throw in the cards and take my letter firing me. I sat down at my computer and thought: what can I really do? My answer to self, start writing my letter of resignation. I put my head in my hands and nearly started to bawl my eyes out. Then students came in my room, so I pulled myself together and made it out of the building. I came home, went to the gym and texted my mom “I have never wanted to quit anything so badly in all my life.” She said “call me.” So I called and talked to my dad. Wait, not quite. My dad said hi and I lost it. I was walking out of the gym bawling. Cried to my car. Cried on my drive home. Cried as I walked in the door and my roommate looked at me – sweaty from the gym and crying. Cried in my bedroom. Finally got myself together and told me dad I have no idea if I can keep doing this. He said if I really am so unhappy and stressed, maybe I do need to consider quitting. Then he told me that since my students really do seem to like me, that maybe I should just be honest with them and tell them their behavior makes me want to quit. Then I talked to my mom and walked into my living room and told my roommates I am seriously considering quitting and going back home (I’m from New York, so South Arkansas is about 24 hour drive).
Well, as the story goes – I went back today. So much for one observation, I got observed 3 times today. My Foreign Language District Chair came in and observed me 2nd period. Then my principal came in and observed me 6th period. Then I have my formal new teacher observation 7th period. A sigh of relief. My students behaved. The pop-in observations – 2nd and 6th, my kids were under control (an accomplishment these days) and were doing what I asked when I was being observed. 7th period were angels, they did exactly as I asked. They answered questions, they behaved. When my vice principal walked out they all sighed heavily and yelled out: “DID WE DO OK?” Yes, they were great. My principal said positive things and I am glad that observation is out of the way.
So, as the day ends today – I feel back in the game. Am I good at the game? NOOOO. Gosh, I suck at this game. Here is the thing about the game of teaching: there is no rule book, there are no rules, no-one can tell you how to do it (because no-one really knows). What works for one class, one period, and even one student, doesn’t work for them all. You have to constantly change the rules. Imagine playing a soccer game where the rules changed based on every player and event. The game would stop. Well, that’s how my classroom works right now. I probably spend 8-10 minutes PER PERIOD just waiting for my students to be silent. I REFUSE to give directions when people are talking. My students are catching on. What I have to say is important and I let them talk, A LOT when they do group work, so I demand their full attention for me to give directions. I kept 3rd period after the bell today for 2 minutes, I made 5th period work in silence, and I sent 3 kids out of their period for talking. They’re catching on that there is a time to talk. But, their catching on has taken them 12 weeks to catch on…….
All I know is that it is a little over a week until Thanksgiving and THANK GOODNESS. I need a break. I need to not be working around the clock. I need to not always have MORE work to do, no matter what. I need to sleep and feel rested. I will miss my students, for sure. They’re the only reason I return to this job. Because honestly, the work sucks. Its tiring – actually, exhausting, and frustrating. But, just a few kids make it worth it. So, I’ll miss them – but I need a break.