Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Day 165: Distracting Myself

My throat hurts, I'm slightly light-headed and I'm still exhausted.

Last night, I took an hour long nap from 8 to 9, went to sleep at 10:15 and hit my snooze this morning.  When I got to work and prepped for the day, I dozed off for another 30 minutes.  None of that helped.

One of the things that I've always found fascinating is that when I'm feeling generally under the weather, my students' behavior drastically improves.  They seem to understand illness much more than annoyance.

As a result, I was able to do a fairly uninterrupted lesson on scatter plots.

I find it slightly distressing and confusing that when I am subdued, the students do what I expect of them, but when I'm energetic and passionate, they are disruptive or just tune me out.  I wonder how I can reverse these trends, or, better yet, maintain their passion and energy all the time.

A few weeks ago, a good friend asked me if there were days when I hated writing this blog.  I told her that no, I don't ever hate writing it.  There are, however, days when I don't want to write.  These days usually fall into 2 categories:

1) I don't think I did anything worth writing about.

This usually means we spent the day doing notes, taking tests or otherwise playing school.  I don't like writing posts that only read "we did notes."  This leads me to try to avoid notes as much as possible.  Knowing that I'm going to writing about my day has changed how and what I teach because I'm almost constantly thinking "I'm going to write about this later. Do I really want to do/say this?"

It's like constantly having someone observe my teaching.  There are benefits and drawbacks, but I think this is a major one.

2) I'm angry or frustrated by external things.

I want this blog to be about me.  This is partially true because I'm a narcissist.  It's mostly true because I can't improve my teaching by complaining about things over which I have no control.  When administration makes decisions that I don't like, or student behavior is horrible, I could go on for pages and pages.  I could fill the internet with the things that annoy or infuriate me, but are outside of my control.

Those would be rants.  Ranting isn't the goal or purpose of this blog.  Do I talk about the things that annoy me? Absolutely.  But that isn't the centerpiece of my writing (I hope.)

I write here to reflect on my teaching in the hopes of being a better teacher. When students fail to live up to my expectations, I try to look at what I could do differently to change that, rather than falling back on the old stand-by of "these kids are lazy."

Sadly, and probably understandably, I have days when I'm not able to make that distinction.  I have days where all I can think to write is "these kids are lazy" or some variation.  Those days are hard days to write.

I would imagine that English teachers sometimes feel the same when they are grading essays.  I imagine that a well constructed argument with solid points can be derailed by poor grammar and spelling.  How difficult would it be to NOT correct every capital letter, misplaced comma, dangling participle or sentence fragment?

Generally, on days that fall into either of these categories, I write more abstractly, focusing on philosophy or long-term goals.

If you couldn't tell by now, today was one of those days.  The district mailed out our building assignments for the 2015-2016 school year.  Whatever complaints I may have are overshadowed by the fact that I'm just glad to be employed when so many others are not.

Dwelling on my concerns and complaints will not help me to be a better teacher.  Instead, I need to start focusing on what I can do next year to provide my students with the best education that I can.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...