I had absolutely intended to write a post the weekend after the first day of school. Then when that weekend came and went, I thought a post after the first full week would provide a bigger picture of my time as a teacher so I justified saving it until then. Well, here we are, Sunday night, three weeks into teaching, and I am finally sitting down to reflect and share.
There have been moments of laughter, frustration, exhaustion, excitement, and contentment already. And though I find it easier to talk about the negatives – the students who test my patience, the late nights of work and grading – it’s the positives that keep me excited to go back to school after two days of pajamas and home.
And actually, I’m glad I’ve saved my reflection until today because this past week was full of ups and downs. At the beginning of the week, I felt I needed to get very creative when working with a student who runs out of work quickly and then tries to talk with students who are still working. I noticed from something she was wearing that she is an advocate for students with special needs, and now she and a friend are setting up a campaign for the entire high school on not using the r-word in school.
Later on, I watched a student come into class every day and pick the first book off the shelf that he could grab. Then, he would sit in class and stare either at the clock or the floor and never on the page. And no wonder, few students would find the Great Illustrated Classics edition of The Swiss Family Robinson very thrilling when other friends are reading contemporary YA novels. Though we had talked about it before, everything came to a head later in the class with tense words. We are still waiting to see how everything there will work out, but one thing I am planning right now is to set up a stack of books I think he could actually enjoy starting right away Monday. That way he doesn’t have to worry about pretending to read something he clearly has no interest in.
I admit I was feeling very frustrated after that class. But right after, I met a student who was so enthusiastic about reading and ELA that I couldn’t help but smile. The short conversation I had with her brought me back to why I loved teaching. And while teaching English will always mean long hours of reading, assessing, and writing feedback, I love what I come to learn about my students in their stories. What they love, what they are afraid of, what their families are like, etc.
My classroom is coming along, and I’m excited about a new project I have planned for the ceiling of my classroom. I can’t wait to show some pictures of it when it’s done!
Luna is doing very well and is fit enough to walk for an hour now! She is becoming braver which manifests as loud barking at random noises. But she’s also a very steady alarm clock, waking me up between 4:55-5:20 every morning even when my phone alarm can’t get me up.
I hope to get some more time for writing as the days go on, and I can (maybe) get ahead in some work. Maybe even stay on schedule with my book project!