"I truly believe that teaching children is the noblest profession. Yes, the pay is insultingly low, and the working conditions are sometimes appallingly shabby. But we don't teach for the money, we do it for the love."
Today when I was giving the Strategic Readers their quiz, L asked me if "illustrate your point by using evidence in the text" meant that they were supposed to draw a picture. It took all that was in my body not to laugh, and laugh, and laugh. I thought I might have to go out into the hall. But I got a grip. Also in the same class, Ca told me he needed a pencil and I told him he needed to give me collateral and he said he didn't have any. I told him I'd trade his phone for a pencil and he said, "How'd you know I had a phone? Oh yeah, cause you called me last night." The real answer was because he was playing games on it instead of reading the other day, but my kids never cease to think "Ms. Jackson calls me" jokes are funny.
After school today, Tr came in because he was very mad about the grade that he made on his project. I told him if he wrote the poem that he was supposed, I'd give him ten points back, which brought his grade up to a C. Mr. Willoughby told the janitor, John, to check on me, so at one point, John was just sweeping in front of my room. When T finally left, having a written a wonderful poem, I might add, John stuck his head in to ask me if I was okay. I could have given him the biggest hug ever. It was so sweet. Of course I was fine, but I really do appreciate being checked up on, especially when the students that I'm helping can be volatile and are bigger than me. Lately, I just really appreciate being asked how I am. It's strange to interact with so many people all day and for them to not know what state I'm in.
This week, like all weeks had its ups and downs but in the end, I'd rather be at high school than anywhere else. Two days ago, I had broken my Strategic Readers into two groups. We were reading and suddenly is was brought to my attention that Ca was playing a game behind his book. I thought he was reading and I was really taken aback so I laughed. It was clever, I had to admit. But T and Ca thought it was funny to goof off so the next thing out of my mouth was, "You guys are pissing me off." Probably not the best way to phrase it on my part. T's response was, "If you're pissed, how come you're laughing." He had a point. Sometimes the kids are just really smart about their disobedience. Sometimes they really are just funny even when they're bad, so my response was: Become a teacher and you'll find out.
That story was my lead in to the one I really wanted to tell. So I felt disrespected by T and Ca, so the next day when Ch gave me trouble and wouldn't read what I asked him to, I told him I was going to hold him a minute after class. I gave him a chance to redeem himself after a few other people read and he still wouldn't read. So after class, I made him stay and I tried to talk to him but he wouldn't even talk to me. I was really worried that Ch was mad at me. The kids are so fickle. One time I told a kid to behave appropriately toward me and he didn't talk to me for a week. Now that kid is really good for me and gives me no problems, so I'm glad I said something, but it was just really hard to see that when I discipline a kid sometimes they get mad. It's hard because I really love them, which is why I discipline them in the first place. Anyways, I pray for my kids in the morning while I drive to school and I was praying that Ch wouldn't be mad me.
This afternoon when fifth period rolled around I was standing in the front of the classroom, waiting for the kids to come in, when Ch came in, throwing his arms around me in a huge, enveloping hug, saying, "I'm sorry Ms. Jackson." I had no idea what to do because we're not really supposed to have a great deal of contact with the kids, so I just threw my hands up in the air and said, "I'm sorry too, Ch. Let's have a better day." It really was funny. And oddly moving. When I told Mr. Willoughby, he asked if Ch was appropriate when he hugged me, and I assured him Ch was. Then he said, "You know. That's a really big step for Ch. To apologize." And I knew that it was. For a kid to come in, especially a mouthy kid, to come in and sincerely apologize, unexpectedly and unwarrantedly, was so surprising and encouraging.
I am so glad tomorrow's Friday. I just really need to rest.
We're studying poetry, and I've been trying to write along with my kids. Here are the results. (I think I will post some of their poetry this weekend.)
I missed this old house: the train, the clock tower, the fridgerator Sometimes you don't realize those things til it's too late Usually it's about people
how they said "pome" instead of "POem"; how they cried when they heard that song on the radio, and you thought it was crazy like spring flowers that pop up too early; how they used to pour their unfinished coffee back into the pot, just so it wasn't wasted, even though you thought it was disgusting.
[if we missed while we had, we would never lose a moment. those wasted moments are missed photographs carried in your mind until they vanish due to lack of exposure.]
Revenge explodes with a bang leaving steaming residue everywhere.
Release is a sizzle, a blanket. Soothing, shh, the hate away.
Joy is a Woodchuck on the roof in the crisp autumn weather, waiting for the first leaf to fall.
This week I came to understand how much I truly have fallen in love with teaching my students. I think about how I can help them better constantly. I want them to succeed. I pray for them all the time. I know that as my heart is expanded for these children, it will never be the same. As I think about my weeks ending, I want to cry. Of course, I still have quite a few weeks but I really don't ever want to stop.
One day this week as I was driving to school, it hit me how much I care about my kids and their struggles. I was praying for them and all of a sudden, that small quiet voice said, "You know that how much you care about them is only a fraction of how much I care about them." I processed those words. Then more came, "And you know the way you think about them, the way you would do anything to help them, the way you want them to have wonderful lives and for them to be okay? That's only a fraction of how I feel about you."
I am learning so much about love. How love sometimes has to discipline. I held an my entire 4th period class on Friday a minute after the bell rang and they hated that. They told me that they thought student teachers were supposed to be fun. To which of course I could have replied, I thought students were supposed to do what I ask and to listen when I'm talking. But I didn't say that, I just said that we couldn't do anything fun because the class was always so crazy. I also gave a kid detention for the first time. I emailed 2 parents to rat out their children, to which one mom replied, "we will deal with it." After I had a terrible 4th period, my 5th period came in. Fifth period is my favorite. They are my strategic readers. The children that can struggle so much and can be such a challenge. I got up in front of the class in a very bad mood. I was just quiet. And Larry has run into 4th period to yell "Jacksonnn" and then run back out, so he knew I was in a good mood earlier. He asked me how I was, and I said okay. He said, "It seems to me that you've got from great to okay." And I told him that he was correct. That's when they class decided to "be good for Ms. Jackson." And when we broke up into reading circles, I snapped at Danielle. She was playing around by the door. Really, she was trying to shut the door for me, but I told her, "Danielle, get with your group. Peace out." in a harsh voice. Then I realized that she was in my group. So I apologized. She forgave me and Cameron offered to beat up my 4th period for me. And Tyler told the group that they should do a good job reading since I was not in a good mood. Granted, I think he forgot about that soon after but it was a nice thought. (: When the kids left, Cameron said, "I love you Ms. Jackson" and Tyler popped his head back in and said, "I love you too, Ms. Jackson" and I said, "Bye boys."
I really love my kids. They make my days terrible and wonderful.
Often I cannot sleep because I am thinking deeply about something. More often or not, these days, I am thinking about teaching.
Tonight I am wracking my brain to think of a way to engage my reluctant readers. I am trying to think of a way to get my fifth period kids to do their outside reading. I am attempting to break barriers and hoping to succeed.
I am addicted to teaching. It is by far the hardest thing I've ever done, and yet each day, I come back, thirsty for more.
Back to scowering the interweb and books for ideas on how I can help my kids.