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.

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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.

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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!

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