Do you ever read teacher blogs? You know what I'm talking about... "Stupendous in Second" "Frilly Fantastic First" "Little Lifelong Learners"... Okay those blog names are all totally made up, but you catch my drift. Some teacher from East-Jesus-Nowhere devotes her life to over the top classroom activities, crafts, lesson plans, the whole nine yards (and all in pretty fonts!). The overall vibe is happy-go-lucky, over the moon with creativity, happiness, love, optimism, and perfection. I'm just here to tell you, real life everyday teaching is NOT like that. Maybe it's just me that's under the impression that there's a bit of a facade, but teaching is always summed up to be so dandy.
I am not trying to scare you. I do not despise my job. I'm just saying teaching is hard. Think of all the people (and parents!) you've heard say, "oh you're a teacher? I could NEVER do it!" Seriously though... not everyone can. Some days I'm not even sure I can :). Usually that feeling only lasts for a day or two. My day today presents a good example...
This morning I came into school knowing that everything was planned and laid out for me. How did I know...? Because I was at school for three hours yesterday prepping everything. (And yes future teachers, that will probably be you someday soon.) Anyway, upon arrival at school and normal school morning stuff, I read my email and discovered (GASP!) we had an assembly! This morning! An author in residence had come to tell us all about his travels around the world. Super cool, right? Well it was... except for it was being held in the gym... during my class's p.e. time. No big deal to me, but to my kids... END. OF. THE. WORLD. Particularly to one student, who I will call "D". After I broke the news to my kids, D proceeded to cry for about a half an hour. All because "I I I just don't wanna miss GYM!"
After calming D down and finishing our morning routine, we headed to the gym. Our assembly was cool and the kids were well behaved, but the presentation ran well into our recess time. Thus, upon arriving back to our classrooms we headed out to recess. I had duty. It was cold and there were 3 grade levels (about 300 kids) outside for their recesses too. MADNESS.
Upon coming in from the wind whipped tundra, we were met by a school staff person who had come to observe D. "Juuuuust great" I thought after the morning's incident. To my great surprise, the class was angelic. They sat and listened and participated, even though they were having trouble understanding just how to make inferences. With our shortened reading time, we did not quite finish grammar or the read aloud before lunch. No worry, there would be plenty of time to finish after. Right?
Dun, dun, dun.
Following our 20 minute lunch, I had about 15 blessed minutes to run a few school errands, cut some papers, take deep breaths, and prep things for the rest of the afternoon and next day. The kids returned from recess, we did our read aloud and finished reading. Then we headed to the computer lab. One thing you should know about computer is that it is not a special. K-2 teaches their own computer class. Cool right? Wrong. Some days it feels like a miracle just to get all the kids sitting, logged in, and quiet. While the kids were working on math enrichment, I noticed that D was doing anything but. His collective, attentive self must have all been wasted during that morning's observation. So I walked over to D and said, "Honey, you're borrowing that pencil so you can't have it in your mouth. That's kind of gross. I also notice that you're not really working over here. What's going on?" To which he responds, "I just don't really like doing so much math because it's a lot for me." (Deep sigh.) "I know it can be hard for you, but it's good to help your brain practice math and to show me all the good things that you've learned in second grade. Plus we need to do our work so that we can earn free time at the end of computer." "UGH, okay."
Upon returning to his computer, I notice that D finishes his math quite quickly... and then reviews his missed questions... which is all of them. So I call him back over, "D, what happened with your math? I noticed that you got a lot of questions wrong." "Well you told me that if I don't do my work I can't do games so I just picked answers so I am done." "Yes, but none of your answers are right. So now, you have to do some more problems so that you can show me what you've learned." "Right now?BUT MISS SPECHT..." "Yes, now." "UGH."
Good talk, glad we had it. Fortunately, computer time was almost over. We returned to the classroom and had a Happy Minions dance break. Because why not? You can find the link here. This dance break was honestly the cutest (and last sane) part of my day. Because next we started math. For those of you who know me, you probably know math is not my strong suit. But I usually excel at the second grade level. Not so much today. We were learning about 3D shapes, their faces, edges, and vertices. First of all, I'm not sure I learned that stuff until I was a junior. Second of all, look at the controversial shape.
It's a cone. It has one face. Zero sides. And how many vertices? That my friends is the great debate. Because in our lesson, vertices were clearly defined as "the point where three or more edges meet." However, our text also insisted that the cone has ONE vertex. How does a shape with no edges suddenly qualify to have a vertex? I SERIOUSLY DON'T KNOW. So I did what any normal person would do. I went to google. With my 25 students. Scratch that, 24 students because by this point D had become so upset and frustrated with 3D shapes and math that I had to haul him down (and I do literally mean haul, stomping, grunting and everything) to the sped rooms. I left my class behind with hasty instructions to do a quick activity and literally left D in tears screaming with the specialists. Do I feel bad about that? A little, but it's in his plan and not in the plan for the other 24 students to deal with. Okay, anyway... even GOOGLE is up in arms about this cone vertices topic. So please, if you know the real answer, help a sister out.
By the time I get focused back to teaching after the hauling incident and the googling conundrum, there are approximately 10 minutes left for the kids to do some independent math work. Shoots. That's not enough time for the worksheet and activity I had planned. Worksheet it is. :(
After 10 minutes, recess. Solace right? Wrong. I had 3 students in for behavior and 4 in for work. Ya know, on our biography project we were supposed to finish last week. And these guys don't even have their first draft done yet. Oops. Easy enough, I had to run down to the office while my guys got to work. A short 3 minutes later I return to find that my guys, instead of working are at the door YELLING outside to three other classmates, "YOU GUYS, GET HIM HE HAS TO COME IN AND GET HIS WORK DONE!" To which I responded, "WHAT do you think you're doing?! Get yourself into the classroom and sit down NOW. YOU are the ones with the work who needs to be done. It is NOT your job to be the teacher and tell people what work they need to get done. THEIR work is already done and YOURS is not. I AM THE TEACHER, AND YOU ARE NOT DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME NOW GET TO WORK."
You guys, I may not always be the calmest person.... but I can usually keep it together. Not this time. I had to leave the room. Fortunately, after recess we switch classes. My kids go to social studies and I teach science for the kids next door. Which is great, the kids LOVE science, but there's always one kids who manages to get in trouble. Amidst making a flip book for natural resources (cause I'm a cool teacher lady who incorporates graphic aids into learning), I am hauling another kid out to the hallway for a "What is wrong can you please just stop being such a pain in the butt and sit and I have higher expectations for you and can you please listen and do the activity please, please, please just NOT." You can probably guess about how well that went.
Finally it's the end of the day. I'm up to my earlobes in frustration. We've got homework to pack and projects to finish and tests to take and piles to correct and bigger piles of papers to hand out and 6 of my kids leave for speech. Okay. Divide and conquer we did. Unfortunately, divided tasking for the kiddos means a divided brain for me... which means instead of sending homework for this week I accidentally sent home homework for last week. I think it must have been as I was seething from watching D fiddle with anything/everything to keep from doing actual work for the upteenth time that day. Just maybe.
And that my friends is just one day. Of 180. I hope this goes to show that teaching is not all sunshine and rainbows. And now looking back on my day, I realize that it really could have been a lot worse. While D was the super star antagonist of my day, there are about 5 other kiddos who could have played that part or any combination of a supporting role. Thank sweet baby Jesus that was not a reality.
Fingers crossed it's not tomorrow either.
Until next time,
Peace, love, and SOS,
Ps... I really do love teaching. I just hope that I love it a LOT more tomorrow!