It has been a stressful three weeks. I have been worried about my students, and let’s face it, I have been angry with them too. And almost everyone in our learning space has felt it. There have been moments when I have been inclined to punish my students by yanking their privileges. That would have been easy and spiteful and would have made me feel good in the short term.
The week ending October 21, I wanted to cancel our division wide Open Mic event. I wanted to pull the plug on a performance event for my group of students. Recently one of my kids said I did not look upset that Friday. That was easy, I was entertained. I got to listen to my kids step-up and succeed, and I got to spend some time with former students. But, oh you bet, inside, I was still stinging.
It has been a stressful three weeks.
We have all felt it.
This week, we had simply had enough.
It is exhausting being angry.
But I had some ideas on how to begin to mend.
I shared in my journal, then with my principal. Then, Tuesday I asked every student I teach to reflect, to meaningfully reflect, about how I could better meet their learning needs. As well, I asked every student I teach about how they could better meet their own learning needs.
Most kids spent 60 minutes answering the first question…
I went home at the end of the day angry and, well, selfish.
Oh, I sure understood that I wanted to react. I wanted to jump into the class the next day and tell my kids all the ways they have not been meeting my needs. I wanted to behave poorly. Really, really poorly.
But, I’ve been self-managing my happiness for a while now. And peace is more valuable than reaction.
So, last night as I attended an after school meeting, I listened to the people on the other side of the table share about the people, places and things in their lives for which they are grateful. It was the weirdest after school meeting I have ever attended; I sat and I cried. I remembered that I love being an educator.
I went home and called my mom (the sound voice of motherly reason, the grandmother extraordinaire and a retired Director of Education). I shared my desire to be selfish and, I too, shared that the spark to respond went against my nature and my philosophy.
I love being an educator.
“Cori, what is your gut telling you?”
I cried. I wrote in my journal. I bbm-ed my principal. Then, I tried to sleep.
This morning, second period, with my principal in the room, I had each student and my principal write their name on a piece of paper. I turned the pieces upside down, shuffled them and then set them aside for a moment. Then, I told my students a few true stories. I told them stories of how I had come to find respect and trust in our learning space. I thanked my principal and asked her to step out. Then, slowly, with honesty and love, I drew one piece of paper at a time. Slow, as I read each name in turn, I thanked each student for the gifts they have offered me over the last 9 weeks. We cried. And we spent the rest of the day laughing, awash in tears, gratitude and reflection.
I love being an educator.