A Modern Bildungsroman

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 13 2012

Thank Goodness for Yesterday’s Post…

…To remind me why I teach when I’ve had an especially difficult day.  Today, it started when a student threw something and it hit me during a class period full of off-task behavior.  This resulted in me tearing up, which students certainly noticed.  To try to hide it, however, I wrote on the board, “I will not talk if you will not listen” and proceeded to write all the directions and discussion questions on the board for the remaining 40 minutes of class.  They were so thrown off that they followed all the directions.  Several students wrote me apology notes (not the students who needed to, but it was so kind just the same).  In one note, a student wrote that she has my back (using those words exactly); in another note, a student wrote that he found the state standardized tests easy because of how much he had learned in English.  A student from a different class, who has certainly had moments where she’s screamed at me and refused to do any work, even burst into my class, threatening to go after them if they gave me any more trouble.  I appreciated how these students stood up for me, but I just wish that my students had a level of respect that allow us to avoid these moments altogether.

At the end of the day, I was the teacher in charge of watching the 25 students who did not earn the standardized test incentive.  This group of students came in and would not be quiet, were throwing desks around, and refusing to sit in seats.  This resulted in me becoming once again so frustrated and overwhelmed.  The worst part was, I could barely point out which students did what when the principal came in because it was so chaotic.  What made it hurt even more was when another teacher came in and they were silent for her.

At the end of the day, I know that there are things I’m doing wrong.  With three months left of the school year, what steps should I prioritize?  How do I avoid the desire to just “count down” to the end of the year and actually feel excited about coming in each day?

3 Responses

  1. Sieng

    Don’t be discouraged. Teachers have their bad days. Many factors could go wrong. Sometimes things happened. Try and see what you could learn from the incident. I was a teacher myself (now studying for Master).
    You matter to your students obviously from their support for you. Not all the fruits of teaching is evident yet. Your disappointment only goes to show that you care and wanted to do your best.
    Teaching (learning) is an on-going process. Let not what you’ve failed today be the yardstick of you being a teacher.
    Reflect and learn from your mistakes and peers. Try new strategies, modify things, keep doing what works and identify where your weaknesses lie.
    Sometimes we have to take it one day at a time. We have to try. Kids could not see the implications for their future. Yes, we need tons of patience.
    Do your best. Pick yourself up. Look ahead. You can do it. All the best.

    • anne2011

      Thank you! That’s great advice.

  2. Sieng

    You are most welcome.

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