A couple years ago, I remember seeing this graphic that shows the natural progression through each school year.
Right now, we should be in the survival area heading into disillusionment. While it is not every day or week, there is still a feeling of questioning why we keep doing this. I will not name them, but I have talked to other teachers who occasionally feel this way.
I say that not to point fingers, but to point out that this is a very common feeling and nothing, generally, to be ashamed of.
For me, it is not something I can put my finger on. It is kind of just in the back of my mind and it peeks its head out every so often. It is not even associated with any particular student, incident, or demand. It is a sense of, well like the picture shows, disillusionment. A feeling that there are so many things to do and how on earth am I going to get them done mixed with a feeling that progress is being made, kids are learning, things are moving along…but…
There is always something more…more that could be done for a student, a lesson, the team, the school, the parents…but time remains time…24 hours is still just 24 hours.
The weight of that, sometimes, rears its head. And it makes you feel like crap, inadequate, and a whole host of other crummy things. (I never said I was good at expressing my feelings and stuff 🙂 )
So what now?
Embrace the chaos?
The answer is…Yeah, I don’t know. Probably those things and more.
I am thankful these feelings are usually something that passes. Sometimes sooner than others. But it passes and I refocus on why I do this job, everyday.
This is why. No, not these kids that are not mine-I’ve never seen them before in my life. But kids like them. Not just a paycheck (though it is nice). But them. Seeing the wonder in a child’s eyes is a pretty addictive thing. Much better than the glazed looks I sometimes get. Haha. If we change the life of just one (or more if we are fortunate), it makes it worth it.
When that student you struggled with for so long, who didn’t seem to be learning or paying attention or whatever…comes back and says something as simple as “you’re my favorite teacher”. For me, it is easy to be cynical and think, “yeah but you’ve not had that many, or something else dismissive.”
If I stop and recognize that, for that kid, in that moment, I am, that is a big deal. I can tuck that away for when I need a boost out of the pit.
But then, maybe it’s just me.