I found it. My greatest frustration as a teacher.
I read a recent blog post called ‘Give a Kid a Pencil,” It is a wonderful blog post about building the culture in your classroom and what you choose to make a big deal. Pencils were his illustration, But it was an ending quote that stuck out to me.
(To teachers in regards to having pencils to give to your students if they don’t bring one to class)
“I am a college graduate and a professional. I have no trouble accessing the power structure of our community. How can I complain about finding pencils? In light of what so many others struggle with daily, this problem is minor. Find a way. Pay for them, borrow them, ask companies to donate them, hit up family members for pencils as holiday gifts. Have a pencil drive. Do a car wash for pencils. I don’t know, but figure it out. Life is a cycle of problem solving. You can find the pencils.”
I have often left a class, as most teachers have, and said “wow, that was just a bad class,” or “they were horrible today.” But I have been starting to curb my language and it is helping with my internal frustration. I’m taking the responsibility, and saying “I wasn’t able to bring them back in today, I will have to try something else tomorrow,” or “that lesson sucked, I definitely need to revise that before trying that with kids again.”
Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean kids are totally off the hook for being poorly behaved and it’s all my fault. But if I’m not ready for them, if I haven’t covered my angles, If I wasn’t able to adjust, I can’t point at them when it goes wrong. The bluntness in the blog above really stuck with me, “I don’t know, but figure it out.” I’m the teacher and something has to change on my end.
Maybe you are like me right now. It’s been a rough year/semester. Defeat is a familiar feeling for you. You have muttered a few too many profanities under your breath in class like me. It’s time to finish strong and tell yourself to make an adjustment on your end because you have what it takes and your kids deserve it. I don’t know, but figure it out.