The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 11 2013

In Which I Attempt To Stop Whining

Day 134: Honestly, next-to-nothing to report in actual school land. Kids took an ANet Math test, the last before their MCAS next month, and promptly departed the premises. I then spent most of the period of time between noon and 5 pm in parent-teacher conferences, exhorting my students to not lose focus, participate more in class, and bring up their math grades to avoid summer school.

Today was, ultimately, frustrating. I was tired, and I learned some disappointing news – the kind that makes it hard to push onward with planning a classification lesson while it’s pouring rain outside. Plus, putting on a face to talk to parents all afternoon is exhausting.

It took me until tonight to realize I’m so engaged in whining, I failed to acknowledge that I found wins even on a day I wasn’t teaching. My first parent today told me he really likes seeing me talk to kids, that it’s clear I communicate with them well. My second parent told her daughter she should be listening to my advice, because I was able to listen to her and give her feedback and ideas in ways that next year’s teachers might not be able to. My last parent told me that his son always talks about me, and it’s clear how much he likes me and respects me.

Let me summarize: I didn’t even teach today, and I still managed to kick ass.

When you’re tired, it’s hard to see wins. You’re not always going to feel validated externally, and when validation is your responsibility, it’s an easy one to shirk in favor of nursing a tired headache. That, however, is completely and entirely useless. Yes, I am legitimately wiped. But that doesn’t make it a good idea to ignore the good right in front of my face, and let myself acknowledge for a minute that I’m a great teacher doing right by my kids. I deserve better.

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