***WARNING- This post is a little long!***
Without fail, whenever I am on a high from something wonderful, something happens immediately afterwards to knock me down a peg or two. Just when I think that I have this teaching thing in a bag and I’m not on the fence anymore about wanting to quit, I will have an unusually bad day. This happened a couple of months ago with two students who I’ll call Jean Luc & Chet.
It was a regular Friday morning with my 2nd period, which I classify as my easy class since I only have seven students. Per usual, I broke the class into three groups, with two groups having two students (10th), and one group having three students (9th). I was super excited because I prepared a Shakespeare lesson for the ninth graders who are reading Romeo & Juliet. I was going to have them watch a video on TEDx Talk with MC Lars, a Stanford educated rapper who produces comical edutainment videos while rapping about Shakespearean lyrics, Edgar Allan Poe, and other literary topics.
The first video is entitled “The hip-hop of Shakespeare” (click here for video). The second video (my favorite) is, “Flow Like Poe!”(click here for video). In the video, he explains iambic pentameter, a trochee, and a host of other Shakespearean terms. The video is seriously goofy, but contains so much useful information. When I put it on, my students usually half-heartedly groan when I put it on the first time, but after I’ve played it and they “get” iambic pentameter, they usually request it.
I wrote/said that to say that, instead of the usual groaning, I got complaints that were above and beyond; they were actually mean. They were doing extras, as the kids say. I have to explain that one student has to something to say about everything; I mean everything. I don’t like his constant complaining, but I’m used to it. However, on Friday, I was not patient with him.
I had to call in the 9th grade counselor for help for Chet because he would not stop talking as I was talking to him. This particular student has made me call my desire to teach into question because I used to be patient with students like him. I used to want to reach them. Now, I do not have the patience nor a desire to reach this particular student.
I feel really bad because I was trying to be patient with Chet because he’s recently had a personal tragedy, but I am at my wits end. I have tried everything that I know and he’s taking advantage of my kindness at this point.
As for Jean Luc, I called his parents and gave him Reflection Hour (detention).
I was so exhausted that I went home and went to bed at 7 p.m. I kept trying to get up to do some work, but I was absolutely exhausted.
The next day, I didn’t have a lot of time and patience to handle the situation again today with the same students.
But, through it all, I had to remind myself that it was a bad day and not a bad career.