The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jan 31 2013

This Too Shall Pass

Day 92: Today, Day 92 of the school year, marks the first time I have cried this year. If you know me, don’t worry; I’m fine. I was in an IEP meeting this morning, and the reality of everything on my plate right now became all too apparent. I had to plan two new lessons for the next day. I had to grade about 75 midterms. I had to prep for a lab. I had grad school homework for two classes. Oh, and by the way, I was about an hour from teaching my homeroom, and while I was still supremely confident in my ability to manage the class, the atmosphere had become not-so-slightly less positive.

When the meeting ended, I went outside, and did what any logical big strong teacher man would do: call his mother. I never reached the point of full-on sobbing. It’s more that I was just losing my grip, feeling the pressure of everything I had to accomplish in the next few days.

And then, a funny thing happened. 6C came in and focused all the way through the lesson, with no side-talking. Funny how it not being a lab anymore, and the stimuli of chemicals and color-change being absent, can make kids a little calmer.

I even got saved from overreacting to AM. I was asking another student to sit down when AM commented, “Can you please not be so loud during the Do Now?” With attitude, of course. I sped-walked over to the recycling bin and started to scribble out a note to see me at recess when EC said, with no guile, “What did she do, Mr. Adler?” I stopped and realized the answer was, “Not anything I need to deal with right now.” So I lied and said I was taking notes, and walked away. Overreaction averted.

I wouldn’t call the day perfect by any stretch of the imagination. AC freaked out at me when I shared her midterm grade. The active transport lesson was teacher-centered and generally not-too-exciting. I notched the second first of the day when HG became the first student of the year to curse at me during 8th period.

About an hour later, HG excitedly ran into the room to ask for pretzels and tell me how much she loves Criminal Minds. That’s a pretty solid metaphor for the day. Low points, to be sure. But by and large, totally fine. Very solid proof of one of my favorite mantras: This too shall pass.

With that, back to work with me. I’ve got a full day to prepare for.

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
Middle School

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