So I survived Wednesday. No, I don't mean the whole VD thing. I had my observation for my evaluation on Wednesday and I like to think that I kicked butt. Then again my mother always says that it is a dangerous thing when I start thinking. Luckily I was given the choice of doing a language arts or math lesson. It was a no-brainer as I told my dad. When I called him Wednesday afternoon (Have I mentioned that I talk to my dad near daily?) to tell him about the observation, he said, "Of course you chose math." Specifically the lesson was on finding the percentage of a given number. I tied the concept into past lessons. I talked about alternative approaches. When the majority said they were getting it, I turned them loose independently. I then checked in with the ones for whom I know math is challenging. I pulled my small group for further instruction. Then they got it. The kids who finished early? They volunteered to help the other students. Kids who have doubted their mathematical abilities were getting it and I gave them high fives. One of these kids -- the one who purposefully shoved me a couple of weeks ago and got a two day suspension but who I also know is bright as hell -- questioned his answer to a problem. Seems someone else had told him the answer was something else. When I asked him to explain his answer (I already knew that he had the right answer.), his mathematical reasoning was right on. I gave him a high five. And I felt like a rock star.
A couple of months ago the science coach told me that she was concerned about me. I was on my way to burnout and she recognized it because she said that sometimes when she heard me speak to the kids, I sounded like I hated them. What concerned her was that she was the one who had interviewed me for my summer school position at the school. She decided in that interview that the reason why I teach is because it is emotional for me. And it is. Somewhere along the way during this school year, I was starting to feel beat up and had lost my heart. It has been a long journey back. And I had to take the journey because I can't imagine doing anything else at this point in my life. Wednesday was an affirmation that I had made it back.
Perhaps this is part of the bond that my dad and I share. My parents instilled me with a strong Protestant work ethic. No, seriously. Most Southerners -- well, at least the ones whom I have met -- are either Baptist or Methodist. My family? Presbyterian. When I was growing up, I tried to explain Calvinism to my friends. (Have I mentioned my love of Calvin and Hobbes? On that note, have I mentioned my love of William Faulkner and stream of consciousness? My mother has made me start to verbalize the stream these days because I often lose her in my mental acrobatics. This is why Emerald and I are great friends. She doesn't have to explain the jumps; I always know why she has made a particular leap to a new topic.) Where was I? Oh yeah. Work ethic. I would work myself into an early grave given the opportunity. Like my dad's dad did. Like my father would if I wasn't around to tell him to slow down. I'm the family caretaker so I don't have anyone to tell me to slow down in my family. Sometimes my friends tell me to but I have a tendency to hide negative things from people. Don't want them to worry and all. In some cases, it's that I don't want to give them ammunition to use against me at a later date. A true Cancer through and through. So the only person on whom I can rely for this kind of advice is myself. That hating my kids thing? Made me realize that I had stopped taking care of myself and I was resentful of the kids. So maybe I don't always take care of the paperwork the way I should but I know that I am rested and happy and therefore, able to kick butt in the classroom.
Another lesson learned? It doesn't really matter if the kids like me. They tell me on a regular basis that they don't like me but their actions show the opposite. Everyday at the end of the day, I have to kick kids out of my room so I can leave. No matter what time it is. And usually it's the worst behaved kids. Because I know that their behavior is just a cry for attention. My latest thing that I have been trying to work on is lowering my voice. I don't like to yell but sometimes I feel like the kids drive me to it. But they don't. Because there is only one person who is responsible for my actions -- me. I try to remember my first year of teaching. When the kids would raise their voices, I would lower mine. To the point that they strained to hear me. And like magic, it would become quiet in the room.
And yes, today is my day to bring treats to work. I spent way too many hours early this morning in the kitchen. (Yes, I was up cooking at 2:30 a.m.)Photos on a later post. Hopefully it all goes over well. Because once today ends? School's out for the next week and I can't wait.