Saturday, December 5, 2015

"The Best Teacher in the World!"

This week has been rough. After a full week off for Thanksgiving, I had trouble jumping back into school. We had a field trip this week, my father had surgery, and I didn't seem to gain any traction at school until Thursday afternoon. I like to be fully prepared for at least a week ahead. This week I had completed my lesson plans, but seemed to be prepping for the lessons about five minutes before we started each activity. It probably was not a good week to completely rearrange my classroom, but that is an entirely different blog post.

I remembered at 5:30 a.m. on Friday morning that I was supposed to be making a volcano in the afternoon as part of our study of Ancient Rome and Pompeii. I think I did this once in 4th grade, so it required a little research. Luckily, I found directions that only needed supplies already in my kitchen. As soon as I arrived at school, a quick look at my students' grades revealed several students were missing work. Our entire morning was thrown off by trying to catch them up. By the time the students were packing up, I felt frazzled and exhausted. I hadn't started plans for the following week even though I had a sub coming in for me on Monday. I hadn't even started the newsletter that we normally send out on Friday afternoon.

Before the students lined up to leave, I told the students I would be absent on Monday for professional development. I explained I was going to be a student for the day, so I could learn to be a better teacher. One of my boys said, "But you're already a great teacher. You don't need to go." I took the opportunity to promote the concept of being a lifelong learner. I told them that I wanted to be the very, best teacher I could be.

"You are already the best teacher in the whole world," another boy exclaimed. I smiled and told him that I didn't want the second best teacher in the world to gain on me, so I needed to keep improving. That seemed to satisfy them.

Ginger Snap is exhausted by the amount of work I brought home.
Empty flattery doesn't do much for me. Ten other students in my class could have given me the same compliments and it wouldn't have phased me. However, these two particular boys almost brought me to tears. At the beginning of the year, neither of them liked school. They have both turned a corner since August and grown so much as students. Their comments were not empty flattery. At that moment, despite the fact I was a Last Minute Lucy all week, these boys truly believed what they said. They are the reason I came home Friday afternoon to work on the newsletter, with a giant stack of papers to grade this weekend, and lessons to plan, but with the motivation to complete it all. These boys reminded me that my best IS good enough, even when I'm beating myself up. It is ok to have a rough week, as long as I don't give up. Good thing, because if you read my next blog post you'll find out about my latest stumbling block!

P.S. The volcano was awesome. I used these directions.