Monday, May 23, 2011

Ebb and Flow

Life seems to move like the tides; one day you're feeling good and the next you're bummed out. Teaching seems to follow the same pattern, and while I had heard it before, I never foresaw how tedious or monotonous teaching would become by the end of the year. The kids seem to have had enough of it too. In the detention room today, one little boy said to me "I'd rather get in trouble for talking in the line and being normal than standing straight up with my finger over my mouth like some idiot." I just looked at him and realized that the rigid structures and military-like expectations of this school system have penetrated the minds of elementary children, and even they are starting to question the expectations.

Putting that aside, it seems that even with the end of the year fast approaching, I'm continuing to make strides connecting with my students. Sadly, most of these gains are made when students are either in the detention room during my shift or when they are sent to me by other third grade teachers for a "time out." On Friday two of my third grade boys were sent to my room last period and I grilled them both about why they always seem miserable in school and why they seem to get in trouble most days. They explained that they feel that they aren't always treated fair and find that the lessons sometimes move too quickly. We left that little "time out" only to find out while they were getting their book bags that they both had a Saturday detention the following day, prompting an emotional meltdown. One step forward, two steps back.

Saturday was a day that helped to bring up my mood. I took a personal day - meaning a day to spend on my own - and went into Center City to buy some books, fresh foods, and a few plants. The day was extremely resourceful and I wound up with a semi-stocked fridge, three new plants, and three new books that I'm excited to read. (although I did purchase Chelsea Handler's new book "Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me" without realizing it was a collection of stories about Chelsea written by her co-workers, family, and friends - not nearly as good as books written by her)

I'm road-tripping to Boston Thursday night with a friend, and all I want to do this weekend (five days) is eat good food, see my friends and family, and relax. A vacation from Philadelphia.

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