I just now got around to the Sunday Secrets. The sad part of this post card is that it could be from so many places.
When I first started teaching, work days were not my most favorite thing. I didn’t like that my students got a day off of school while I had to be in the building (mostly alone in my office). And on top of that we usually had marathon faculty meetings.
But today was different. For the first time ever I finished at a normal time and felt like I had accomplished everything on my work day to-do list. This may have been due to the fact that we didn’t have a single meeting today, but I think that even if we had a staff meeting I would have finished on time.
So now I can add work days to the “pro” side of my “teaching pros and cons” list.
- Email from a parent: I know it's over halfway through the year, but do you need any classroom supplies?
- Me: *small squeal* TISSUES!!!!!
- Co-worker: (very confused) What just happened?
Back in the fall when people were posting about the burn-out rate of teachers as spread across the school year, I marveled at how many people are just done in October.
For me, the year’s finally gotten its legs under it in October, and it’s time to hit our stride. I’ve known everyone’s names for a while, and I’ve figured out their personalities and how each class period’s dynamics are going to work. It’s totally go-time in October.
We charge forward into November (hello, Thanksgiving) and December (hello, winter break) and January (hello, mid-terms and end-of-quarter long weekends).
And then we run smack into the brick wall that is February. I’ve spent years trying to figure out how the shortest month can be the longest to get through. It’s like the last 60 miles on a road trip; all you want to do is BE THERE, and yet the highway keeps rolling anonymously and infuriatingly by.
Everyone’s tired and worn out in February. Tempers tend to flare, kindness melts away, and at the very least, people lose their sense of humor. Jokes that would have killed if I’d told them in March hit the floor with a lead-balloon *thump* in February.
Student attendance and motivation and quality of work and attitude plummets in February. Colds, flus, migraines, and “illness” comes out in abundance. Seniors with two months left before major exams suddenly stop coming to their morning classes but miraculously make it to campus in time for lunch.
Over the past four years, I’ve brushed up my resume and started looking for jobs in a different field. Want to know during which month that always happens? February. February is the month that makes me question the sanity of working with teenagers when I could be safely behind the bullet-proof glass of a bank somewhere, working as a bank teller. Plus, bank tellers don’t have to plan lessons.
All the way up through January, and again in March (and onward), I’m always glad I’m right where I am, and I’m secretly relieved that no one I apply with has ever followed up with more than a “thank you for your application, but we’ve filled the position with a more qualified applicant…” form email. I know that I have no other marketable skills than an English teacher, and I know I’m really good at what I do, and that I’m needed where I am, and that I’m useful in a way I’ve never been before and never will be again.
But February, man, this month’s just a killer.
I have my mid-year review tomorrow. The principal and I will go over my observation from last week as well as my SMART goal data and progress.
I’m actually excited to present my data! It should be a good meeting. It also helps that I really like my admin and they like me too.
Today I took 11 students to participate in the All District Band. We had to take a bus to get there.
Our bus driver was a nice guy. He’s driven us places before, but never really had a conversation with me. Normally he just makes sure everyone is ready and takes us to where we need to be while I play games on my phone.
Today was different. We had a conversation that lasted the whole trip. And I found out a lot about him. The most important thing I found out was that he really loves his job and is a very positive person. We found out that we had a lot in common.
I’m sure he doesn’t get a lot of adult conversation with his job. I get to work in a building with other adults and occasionally get to talk to them between classes. He drives bus loads of kids. No conversations. Just driving.
I have never had a conversation like that with a bus driver. Truthfully, its because I’ve never taken the time to engage them in conversation. What a mistake that’s been.