I barely held back tears in the bus line. Only Wednesday and it had already been a horrible week. I paced back and forth to give my tears a chance to dry and then engaged with the cuties in my line, the ones who laugh and ask questions and move themselves back in line when you remind them. I strategically ignored the little one who digs in the dirt and jumps all over the place – let Ms. V. handle him today.
Teaching is emotionally exhausting, not teaching is more so. My tears were from the feeling that I had not been able to teach that day, that week. Have you had those days? I wonder, because the teaching blogs I read never seem to mention difficult behaviors. Oh, maybe they mention the kid who doesn’t like to read and staunchly sticks to National Geographic’s Weird But True series. They describe their tireless efforts to find the fiction that will engage the little rebel. They never talk about the kids who spend entire lessons walking around the room, taunting other kids and pushing them out of the way, leading an 18-kid rebellion against learning (there are always a few loyalists). In their classrooms, no one tells anyone else that they suck d**k or tries to egg someone into a fist fight in the middle of Math.
I love teaching. I am a teacher. But I’m tired. Twenty-something days into the school year and all I can think of is summer vacation. I was looking at a really good 4-day workshop at Columbia timed perfectly to fit into my winter break and when I started to explore the possibility of attending all I could think of is how tired I would be and how I couldn’t bare to give up my week to anything but sleeping in and spending days in my pajamas with coffee and fluff fiction. I was angry because I love learning but right now I hate teaching.
But I don’t. I love teaching. I hate behavior management. I hate being so helpless to change behaviors enough so that kids can learn – the little rebels as well as everyone around them. Oh my, I don’t even like using the word rebel because I am a fan of rebels in history who disrupted things to make the world a better place. These folks aren’t trying to make anything better, not even for themselves.
So, now I’m trying to figure out how to actually teach. How can I restructure my day to provide the best opportunity for learning? How can I restructure the classroom so those few I can’t reach right now don’t completely intrude on those I can? I have ideas, but no faith. I need to get my faith back, faith that I am capable, that I can do this job, that I can teach anyone put in front of me, that every child can learn and grow.