The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 01 2013

When “Good” Starts to Feel Less Good

Day 143: In what appears to be an increasingly frequent theme, this post is late, and I really can’t remember too much of what happened Tuesday. I remember first and second period felt really, really easy – kids just doing the right thing, the whole time, and me feeling pretty good about everyone getting the content. And that’s pretty neat when the content is the six kingdoms, and knowing how to sort organisms into kingdoms means you have to be fluent in funky words like “prokaryote” and “heterotroph.”

Fourth period was my homeroom after performing arts … Which means reining in kids who have just been making costumes and reading plays … Which means the transition between classes vaguely resembles a car crash. I channeled my best Zen master and simply typed on the PowerPoint, “I am starting a timer. If we can’t be back in seats in 10, we will make up the time during recess.” That worked. And finally, as usual, 6B nailed class, staying happily on task during a gallery walk.

I don’t write this to celebrate a fairly normal, effective day. I write this intending to communicate that I did my job, and my kids did theirs. You can romanticize teaching, and celebrate the day-to-day as the critical work of helping students reach their potential, and in so doing, bridge the achievement gap. However, when it’s nearly summer, your grad school papers are due, and you’ve got the weight of 143 wake-ups on your back, it’s damn hard to feel romantic.

So, my challenge to myself over the next week or so – find some joy. Otherwise, I’m going to keep myself from enjoying a pretty solid home stretch.

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