Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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I am going to let you in on a little known teacher secret. It will most likely knock your socks off. You will not be able to believe your eyes and you will have to go back and reread to check your comprehension. It is truly a make your eyes pop out of your head kind of a secret. The media might have to be alerted because it is going to blow your mind. Are you ready? Well, here it is.

Teachers have bad days, too.

Did you fall off your seat? Did your jaw drop? I know, I know, it is shocking. But, I have to be honest, there are some school days when the best thing about them is when the clock says 3:02.

Today was one of those days. Nothing momentous happened. In fact, I had 2 preps today so only did hands on teaching for 3 hours. The odds for a good day should be in my favour on Tuesdays, doncha think? Well, apparently someone forgot to wake up the school fairy because those 3 hours were painful. Veeeeeerrrrryyy painful. I felt like I was stuck in one of Judith Viorst's Alexander books. This one in particular.

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The class had a clear cut case of chatteritis which, I hate to say, does not have a magic pill I can give for a cure. Just think of all the money I could make if I could invent something like that! Teachers everywhere (not to mention some parents!) would be clambering to buy the pills. The magic elixir that makes students stop, look at their teacher and direct all of their attention on the lesson at hand. Ah, well, it is free to dream.

There are a couple of girls that I swear have not stopped talking since last September. I kid you not. They know that they need to be listening but they just can't seem to help themselves. And they are only 2 of the chatty monkeys. There are more. Far too many more. As in I have to use both hands and all of my fingers more. Is it any wonder that by 11:30, my patience metre was running on empty? I felt like a grumpy old bear snipping and snapping away all day. Not a good feeling. That bears repeating (no pun intended!) Not. A. Good. Feeling. In fact, it is a very, very bad feeling.

I gave reminders. I praised the kids who were behaving (which I am happy to say there were some). I gave time outs to the constant distractors. No deal. Nothing changed. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Every behaviour strategy I pulled out of my bag of tricks fell flat. I was ready to tear my hair out, stomp up and down and have me a full blown hissy fit right there in class.

 And then, out of left field, the child who never completes anything independently not only finishes the Science work himself BUT is the first one done! And it is all correct! YES!!!! (insert fist pump here) And another student flashes me a smile and says, "I am so glad that I am in your class, Ms. Hughes" before bouncing away to wash her hands. Ah, just like the Grinch, my heart grew a little bigger with that one. Then two more girls give me lovely little packages tied up with string (they really were! Cue Julie Andrews to come in from stage left singing her heart out) filled with small pages of math equations they did at home and wanted to show me. They were vibrating with impatience waiting to show off their learning to me.

I take a deep breath (or 10, or 20) and reminded myself that this too shall pass. Say it slowly now. This. To. Shall. Pass. Breathe it in. Breathe it out. Chant it to myself over and over. Remind myself tomorrow is a chance to start fresh not only for the kids but for me, too. And that some days are just not as good as the others.

Even in Australia.

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