It's definitely be One Of Those Weeks (and it's only Tuesday). I have a terrible cold. I am pretty sure I'm never hearing from my crush again. I'm PMSing. It's a holy trifecta of terrible.
My job is hard enough without these outside factors. I am a second year teacher teaching a full classroom of gifted first graders in a struggling district. To the outside eye, this sounds like a cushy position to be in. A classroom full of smart kids - who wouldn't want that? But I have 24 students whose academic abilities range from 1st to 5th grade and whose emotional ages range from about 4 to 10. It's incredibly challenging. Try working with 7-year-old with a 4-year-old maturity level on a 5th grade reading level with the vocabulary of a college student. Yikes. And then there are 23 other students.
Most days, I get home and I want to curl up in a ball and do nothing but eat carbs and watch X-Files. My fitness routine has gone out the window because I'm just too exhausted to make it to the gym. I frequently have to cancel social plans to grade papers, write emails, and plan lessons late into the evening. I am typically in the classroom from 7 am until 5 or 6 pm. I constantly question whether I made the right career choice, if I'm teaching the right grade level for me, or how angry I'd be paying back these graduate loans if I left education.
But then there are days like today. We stared a project on natural resources last week that requires the students to do research for the first time ever. They work in pairs to research a very specific aspect of one specific natural resource. They're doing an AMAZING job. They're using the indexes in textbooks and nonfiction books, articles on a middle school level, and internet videos to answer the questions and find information. They're WORKING TOGETHER, which they've struggled with all year so far. They're finishing their work on a deadline. They're following directions. It's ACTUALLY WORKING. On Thursday, they'll rearrange and teach what they've learned to two others and then make a poster on their resource, and I have no doubt in my mind that they are going to produce wonderful work.
And then there's that One Kid. That One Kid that every teacher has every year, the one that uses up 83% of the teacher's energy and attention. My One Kid is so intelligent, but won't do anything. ANYTHING. I've tried a variety of methods to motivate him to work and nothing has been successful. Today, we started a new method that I used with a student last year. When we had talked about it yesterday to prepare, he said, "I don't think this is going to make me do my work." I told him we'd at least try it, and if it didn't work, we'd try something else. Well guess what. He did EVERYTHING he was supposed to today. I just can't believe it. He was excited to get his work done and mark on his chart that he had done the work. It was miraculous. I hope it sticks.
After my students had been picked up, I returned to my classroom with a rare spring in my step. Full of energy, I ended up staying until 6:15 grading papers, planning, and cleaning. I'm actually disappointed that I will be out of the classroom Thursday and Friday this week because I am going to miss seeing them do the next step in the natural resources project. And I'm curious...is this how I should feel every day after work, or are these the rare days that just keep teachers going?
Update - While I was spending a ridiculous amount of time searching for appropriate gifs...the crush texted me. What!