Wednesday, September 19, 2012
What Keeps You Going?
Teaching is really hard work.
Not only is it hard, it is relentless. We start most every morning with a meeting, so we better be ready to roll when the students walk in the door. We have short lunch periods (usually accompanied by a duty) and a planning period that is never equal to the amount of work that needs to be done in that time. We spend our days teaching, monitoring, questioning, noticing, grouping, helping, differentiating, showing, telling, encouraging, listening, improvising, answering, documenting...and every now and then we get to sit down for a minute.
So what keeps you going?
For me, it's my recess duty. Fifteen minutes spent outside in the fresh air rejuvenates me. Sure, I'd rather not have the duty, but without that duty, I'd go all day without stepping outside. I love the young naturalists who catch grasshoppers and bring them to show me, and who wonder what kind of bush that is over by the swings that has the red berries on it (Yew -- I looked it up on Google and I'll tell them at recess tomorrow). I love the kickball game when it's going well, and I even love slowly but surely teaching kids in conflict to use their words and talk it out before jumping to conclusions and assigning blame.
What else keeps me going? Reading Elephant and Piggie books with my new-to-the-U.S. ELL student from Saudi Arabia. She's a sponge. She's picking up lots of oral language on her own, but she needs me to (begs me to) sit beside her with Gerald and Piggie so she can echo read with me.
The readers at the other end of the spectrum in my two language arts classes fuel me, too. The ones who have read every Lunch Lady book like they were starving, and the ones who have so much to say after we read Capture the Flag during read aloud.
And I'm energized by my vision of what my language arts classes are going to be like in a few more weeks, when the norms are fully established, the fall diagnostics and assessments are completed, and we really dig in and begin the work of growing readers and writers. We're not there now, but we're going to get there.
What keeps you going?