So I wrote this post a few days back. I was feeling inspired. I thought “Boy, do I love my job!” I am no Freedom Writer teacher. Sometimes I question my abilities and my career choice, especially when I have a down day of teaching or I see my students’ scores on a district test. One day I might have a different job. But today, I am a teacher. I can name reasons why I enjoy teaching, but it is better to explain the days, the good ones particularly.
A Thursday in the Life of an English Language Arts teacher
Today was a relatively good day of teaching. Sure, there are better days. Usually, I am not fighting a super virus that has made speaking a chore, but today was good. The students appeared to enjoy learning about passive and active sentences. Well, they at least enjoyed the part where they had to rap the six sentences they created using AutoRap. Even my busy bodies were engaged in the process. They left my class smiling and talking sentences instead of debating the drama of who is dating who.
My first class of the day I spend a chunk of time fixing unforeseen glitches in sharing Edpuzzle videos with my students. Students assisted me with finding the solution. I like to call this The Impromptu Team Building and Problem Solving session. The issue was finally fixed and students watched videos quickly reviewing passive and active sentences. Next step, creating passive/active raps.
A few said the assignment was hard.
“Good.” I smiled my devilish smile. “It should be challenging. If it was easy, I’d be worried.” Two girls wrote about the STAAR test. When I told them I would send it to the principal, their focus quadrupled. Another pair struggled to begin. I gave them an example using their names. At the end of class they proudly showed the four sentences they had completed, even though I was responsible for at least 1 of their sentences. I congratulated them for making progress, especially since this pair struggles with writing. A small step forward is worth celebrating.
At lunch, two students arrive with food trays because one needed to complete a test and the other was there for company. I know they are not there for the test. They talk to me, despite the fact that most of my attention was on eating and grading papers.
“Do you always grade papers during lunch?” One girl asked.
No, only when I am slammed with work and their deadlines to meet. This convinced one girl away from the teaching path while the other still believes that teaching is in her future, especially if it includes kindergarteners. Good for her. I imagine myself singing alphabet songs and orchestrating craft-like lessons with a smile.Nope.
The I-am-not-going-to-be-a-teacher said she enjoys my class. I am shocked, because I feel like 50% of my time is spent reprimanding her class. Maybe she just likes the of-the-wall craziness that happens in the class. Figures. It is the last class of the day.
Eighth period (last class) rolled around. One student needed help with his Google classroom account (even though has had the same exact login since August). I almost lost my cool. An edge crept into my voice which made his eyes go big like he’d cry at my next ultima. I managed to tell him in the sweetest way possible that I want him to write his login info on a sticky note and don’t lose it or else. . . Meanwhile I thought about ways to get this kid organized. I could conference with the other teachers. . . I moved on to assist another student. The rest of class moved forward teetering on the brink of controlled chaos, but with a group of rambunctious boys anything was possible. A student took off his shoes, and his feet don’t smell, so I let him do his thing. He’s on task, and it’s not a class distraction. There are other battles to fight.
When the final school bell rang, even my eighth period sprinted out discussing the lesson.
I read a few more essays and struggled with grading objectively. Not five minutes after school ends, students are knocking on my door. Running club was about to start. The work day was not technically over, but I feel satisfied anyway because . . .
Students learned. It was a good day.
Current Day Results
Although, there was an abundant amount of enthusiasm for the activity, problems arose in the publication of the AutoRaps. Oh, well something to fix in the future.
Six days of extra practice and learning predicate adjectives as well, students take a test on what they have learned. I wonder if they had enough preparation. Should I have done another check for understanding? I try not to think about my eighth period testing. Their already rocky concentration was completely shattered by a steady stream of visitors. Half of the visitors brought Pre-Valentine gifts. Apparently, the gifts couldn’t be all brought at once, so I had someone knocking on my door every 5 minutes. I can only imagine how comical it was to see me hushing and glaring at students as I took in the sodas, candy, and roses. I felt like the Grinch who stole Valentine’s Day. The following day (Saturday) three of the boys in running club participate in a local 5k that donates money to the district schools. One boy takes first in his age group (finishes 22nd out of more than 200 participants), and the others take 4th and 7th. I couldn’t be prouder. My Grinch status feels partially absolved. This is why I teach. One day can potentially bring more positive results than I can imagine.