This morning was a hard one. I absolutely did not want to get out of the bed. In fact, I overslept. The truth is that I am worn out, especially mentally, but also physically. I have been battling chronic migraines for the last several days, have had some personal challenges, a few dramas at school and I am ready to spend the next two days in my pajamas in front of the tv engorging myself on Netflix marathons. Yes, that sounds like heaven.
Nothing is particularly wrong this school year, in fact it has been the best year I have had in several. I do, however, have a couple of classes that some how seem to be composed of every student in the school who just wasn't prepared well last year for Spanish 2 this year. Those two classes happen to be first and second period, so that means I have to work harder in the early morning than the rest of the day. I have to admit it is frustrating. I mean, really... who is really awake enough to have to have your best strategies ready to go for the first two classes of the day. Try as I may to plan for them, what I plan usually has to be modified because they struggle to "get" whatever it is I have planned. I have to often remind myself that my weakest, toughest and worst classes are in my life to make me strive to be a better teacher, but that self encouragement is hard to do especially on days when I am already exhausted. Most days I feel like I am teaching my butt off for those two classes, and yet all my efforts aren't really fruitful. It's frustrating!
In church the other day we had a guest minister who preached a message called, "Right Place, Right Time." His premise was that even the disasters in our lives are still examples of us being in the right place at the right time. Hard to believe that our worst days are necessary for the greater purposes that we all are here to fulfill. Today, I saw divine timing in my most challenging class. Like I said before, I work hard in this class and often feel discouraged when the bell rings. Today I struggled to motivate them because I feel so unmotivated myself, and I was patrolling the room in order to redirect students' attention to their reading task in hopes of avoiding sending homework with them over the weekend. So, as I approached a group of boys I was going to chide for being off task, I overheard a part of their conversation that intrigued me. The kids were talking about "best teacher ever" and as I approached that side of the room, they pulled me in to the conversation telling me in animated tones that...
I am the best Spanish teacher they have ever had.
Right place, right time.
As teenagers often do, they launched into memories of their previous year and all their observations and opinions of the teachers that came before me, how they unfairly punished them or would do quirky things that just seemed weird to them. They also shared that they felt like they didn't learn a lot. Now, I don't encourage teacher bashing in my classes, so I was making frowny faces and comments to play devil's advocate for those teachers, and the kids responded by telling me...
"I've learned more here in a few weeks than I learned the entire year last year."
"We love you because you care about us."
Shut the front door!
Certainly not me, and obviously they did not know how much I needed that from them. One student actually told me that he wanted me to know why they didn't seem to know much. It was like he saw how hard I was trying and he didn't want me to give up. I don't know if that was what he meant, but I am sooooo taking it at face value.
Coaching kids is hard work especially when they don't believe that they are capable of learning or doing something that currently sits outside of their ability levels. I have to constantly remind myself that I have to be their biggest encourager. I have to convince them of my faith in them.
Today, they did that for me.
Happy Coaching, friends!