This is a post that you need to read around the beginning of November every year you teach.
Go ahead and add this task to your calendar.
You see, around that time, you become very discouraged.
I’ve watched it happen. After all, I am you.
I’m writing this post to encourage my discouraged self.
As you’re reading this…in the future I mean…you’re feeling frustrated because your classes are over the honeymoon phase.
The kids seem to be trying your patience at every turn.
You are, most likely, questioning why you are doing this for the money you are being paid. Enduring disrespectful behavior just doesn’t seem to be worth it. Keeping up with stupid state education mandates is pushing you over the edge.
You’re wondering how in the world you wrote those glowing end-of-the-year reflections…posts that made you cry as you typed them.
You’re thinking that you’ll never gel with your current batch of kids like you did the previous year, and your feelings are getting support every time a former student visits to give you a hug and tell you how much he/she misses you.
You’re longing for that happy feeling you had the previous spring.
I’m writing to tell you to pick up your head…that things begin to change around January after students return from Christmas break.
Despite the fact that you’ve seen this happen each of your years of teaching, you somehow forget.
For some odd reason, students become serious about their schooling after Christmas.
There might be a correlation between their realization that their GPAs are in the tank and that semester exams are around the corner.
Either way, reality is beginning to bite them in the butts, and they begin to realize that 1) You might actually know what you’re talking about and 2) They might be spending another year in Intensive Reading if they don’t change their ways.
This is a beautiful combination that results in students holding each other accountable for their classroom behavior, and you find yourself actually enjoying less-interrupted lessons.
Let’s get real, though.
You know that your favorite part of your job is the relationship-building that you do. That is why you worry so much each year when it seems to be taking forever for the kids to trust you…when they insist on bucking you with the same stupid infractions.
It’s precisely because you do hold them to task each slip-up that they realize, around this time of the year, that they can take you at your word…that you will be an adult they can count on…that it actually takes more time to hold them to task than to let things slide.
I want you to know that it is around this time that the special personality of each class you teach begins to cement itself.
Each class is unique due to the individuals who form each group.
Thus, you cannot expect what makes one class laugh to make another do the same.
You’re now forming different inside jokes…stringing different memories together that will make each slideshow at the end of the year special in its own way.
So take heart.
Things DO get easier.
Do not cave because you were meant for this profession.
You were meant to be awkward.
You were meant to dry tears.
You were meant to cajole and inspire.
You were meant to tell the girls they look pretty and joke around with the boys about football.
Even on the toughest days in November and December when kids do not want to work…when everyone is counting down the days until the holidays and, thus, see no reason to work..have hope. The light at the end of the tunnel is but a speck at that point of time.
That speck grows larger by January.
Before you know it, Spring Break and then the end of the year will be here.
Then you’ll wonder what you were so worried about, and you’ll laugh at yourself for being so dramatic.
And you’ll do it all over again.
These are the things you need to remember.
I know, for we are one and the same.