Monday, November 24, 2014

Day 61: The Struggle Is Real

I didn't have a good day on Friday.  My coworkers went out after work, but I didn't feel as though I would have been good company so I didn't go.

I spent the weekend with my wife, watching a roller derby tournament, cheering on my friends and genuinely feeling wonderful.

When I returned to school this morning, I slipped right back into my own head.

Several students asked if I had had my coffee, if I was feeling alright.  I lied and told them I was just tired.

The reality is that I'm feeling defeated and overwhelmed.

I've had several observers in my class telling me that I'm doing good work, that I'm building relationships with my students (which I know is more vital than anything else.)

I KNOW that right now I'm stuck inside my head and riding a wave of disappointment, frustration and sadness that came off from Friday.

I KNOW that I have not been wasting my time with my classes and my students.

But this is how I feel.

I don't feel as though my students are making the kind of progress that I would like to see.  They aren't asking the kinds of questions I want them to be asking.  They aren't making the connections that I want them to be making.

Yes, they are a different group of students than previous years.

Yes, I'm a different teacher than I used to be.  I have different expectations of myself and of them.

Yes, I am well aware that I wrote similar posts last year.

I am fighting a battle inside my head.  This is a battle that I fight regularly.  Usually, it starts on Monday with a very quiet voice telling me to give up and give the students worksheets.  It wants me to open my book and sit at my desk with my feet up.

For the last year and a half, I've been doing a great job of winning that battle, although when it's loudest on Friday's, it's very hard to block out.

The weekends have been doing wonders at helping me push it further back and start the fight anew on Monday.

As wonderful as this weekend was, I wasn't able to push the voice back far enough today.

Luckily, all of my classes have quizzes and tests tomorrow so today was a review day.  The math 8 students got sample tests to work on while I walked around answering questions.  A good 50% of the students were on task for the entire class with another 20% floating in and out.

In geometry, I had the students with specific questions move to the front of the room and the rest move to the back to work on their reviews.  I was able to talk in a normal conversational tone for the entire period and helped answer questions for a small group of kids at a time.  It felt productive, but I still have a feeling of dread about the tests tomorrow.

I need to get out of my own head if I want to be a good teacher for these kids.

Maybe I just need to get back into a heavy workout schedule.


  1. I wish I had some encouraging words for you....I used both my personal days to extend my Thanksgiving break and take my kids on a little getaway--had to make sure I was thinking clear, and thoughts I was having this past month were the age of 39, I will be "retiring" from teaching at the end of this school year..... I wish you luck in finding your light!!

    1. I've been teetering on that edge for a long time. I don't want to leave teaching. I truly don't.

    2. Me neither...but it's come to the point of students lying, administration not supportive of innovative teaching (I'm told to have teacher-led lecture 30-35 minutes each class), and I am not doing what I want to be it is time to move on. :(


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