Tuesday, February 27, 2007

And this is when things are going to be okay

Now that I've come out of the haze of the first semester of teaching I'm starting to realize how frustrating my job truly is and how much I internalize that frustration. If it's not losing students to their own misguided need for attention or dealing with a less than well run administration or discipline issues that consume my life if I let them, it's some other thing that makes me shake my head and say "only here."

Recently I've felt like I'm burning out and fast. I'm so captivated by my students and my need for them to succeed that it tears me down a little bit inside each time someone does something stupid or makes another illogical plan that does nothing but disrupt their chances to make gains in their lives and get somewhere with their education.

It all seems too much sometimes.

Then you have days like today.

Today wasn't even a school day for me due to an endlessly long doctors appointment, but I found myself at school anyways. After soccer practice I was torn with going home to get food or staying at school and getting work done. All of those options were quickly turned down the minute I saw Barrett in the parking lot. Welcome to one third of my dinner party at least once a week. A quick hunger check with him and then running into Newsome and Micheal in the hallway secured my dinner plans. All of this could have made my evening better than my day, but then three of them occupied themselves while I went up to my classroom to get my bags.

I returned to the back of the school to them playing basketball with five students who had hung around school for LCDC practice. There are days when everything sucks at my school and I just want to leave. And then there are days when come outside to find three grown men playing basketball and acting like they're 12 again. These are the people I teach with, respect, and have come to count on for general sanity in my day and they were genuinely happy. It was a really nice thing to see.

It was one of those moments that is so simple you don't notice it until it's almost gone. And then you sit there on the pavement in February in 80 degree weather and you watch the three of them laugh and smile and you think this is a memory I need to keep. This is something I need to think of the next time I'm giving up. This is a memory that will matter to me in 20 years when I think about my first year of teaching.

When you can spend your day fighting through masses of special education paper work, getting cursed out by your students or simply being exhausted from testing children all day and still find your way outside to trash talk a couple of 12-year-olds then life is really not as bad as it seems. Hope is not lost and doing this, day in and day out, kind of seems worth it.

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