In case I hadn’t made it clear in this blog at some point in the last few days, I’m a teacher. English, specifically – 11th and 12th grade currently. And the day I hoped would never come, has indeed arrived…the last evening of Christmas break.
I have mixed feelings.
One on hand, I have genuinely missed my 190 large children. A lot.
On the other hand, I have not missed their attitudes…not even a little bit.
I’ve missed my teacher friends and am looking forward to getting back into a more normal routine.
However, I still have a stack of grading that must be accomplished before tomorrow (so of course I decided to spin out a blog post!) and about a billion other things to do before the bell rings tomorrow morning and the kids storm the halls.
Teaching is a world of mixed feelings, especially in the current climate.
BUT, this semester, I’m going to be kinder on myself. Last semester, I was kinder on the kids. LET ME EXPLAIN.
Last semester, I accepted work, no matter if it was two months late. I didn’t care. Just get it turned in, was my motto. (Which is even more ridiculous when you consider the fact that I never assigned homework, so it was CLASS work they were turning in late…how does that happen?) I rarely even took points off for late work. This resulted in a massive pile of grading that I never caught up with, even now, the night before grades are due. I stayed up way too late, working on lesson plans and creating activities to engage and differentiate and scaffold and all the other buzz words teachers are supposed to incorporate and live by. I was patient, too patient. I didn’t have any patience left by the time I got home to my family. I worked hard and broke my back and judged myself harshly. I cared more about my students than they cared about themselves.
Now, I’m not saying I’m about to turn into the hateful bitch from horrible teacher-ville. But what I am saying, is I’m going to do things much differently this semester. I’m going to be more stricter about due dates and deadlines. You either get it in or you don’t. And if you don’t turn in your work, that’s on you. I’m going to teach myself to not feel so guilty when my students fail themselves. And by being more strict on due dates, I simultaneously will be celebrating the ones who turned their work in on time and did what they were supposed to do by rewarding them with the grade they earned, and not rewarding others who decided to not reach the standard. I will make better use of my time at school and stay an hour or so later, so that when I get home, I have no work to bring home with me. I will be patient, but I will draw a line. I will not let my patience be stretched, so that when I get my home, the smallest thing A does makes me snap at him. I will love them just the same, but I will do it firmly, by holding them accountable for their own work. I will start assigning homework. I should not feel compelled to over extend myself and the kids during class for the sake of not assigning homework. I know most will not do it, but some will, and I will celebrate those victories until the rest get the point.
I guess this whole post could be summed up in one sentence: I will hold them more accountable for their own actions and feel less guilt about the decisions THEY make.
Now…here’s hoping my new outlook benefits my students, my butter bean growing in my belly, and my family.