Yesterday was the kind of day that started out bad, progressively got worse, and ended with the Apocalypse. It might have been in my top ten worst days as a teacher, and maybe even a human. Not because my lessons failed or my kids were acting crazy. Not because my coworkers were mean or my students were off task or disrespectful. It was just a bad day for ME. And even though I understand the ways in which teachers set the tone for a room, I just wasn’t able to overcome it yesterday and I let it affect everything, from the time I got out of bed, to the time I got back in.
I went to bed early the night before, ignoring all of my responsibilities and pretending that giant overwhelming to do list wan’t a thing. I was tired and I thought I owed myself a good night sleep. Then I woke up…late and it was still staring at me. Its power had amplified overnight and I just became an anxious mess, especially since I was waking up 40 minutes after I normally would have. I rushed to get ready and out the door. I hobble down stairs only to find our coffee machine had been broken overnight by elves, apparently. Anyone that knows me, know this is a close second to the Apocalypse on my list of “Terrible things that can happen.”
I finally made it to school. Before the first block of the day, during morning announcements (which are televised and broadcast in each classroom), my entire class decides to make fun of the girl on the announcements. This leads to a ten minute conversation about bullying, treating people with respect and not making fun of people who are different. Never mind the bravery it took for any middle school kid to agree to be broadcast in front of 800 of her peers.
After that, an angry parent email because their child did poorly on a quiz and it was my fault. I will leave it at that. Then, the child of said angry parent comes to me to tell me that “It was unfair…” to which I explained she could have come to me at any point for clarification while she was taking the quiz, but instead, she came to me mad me after it was graded. I was nice and kind during our conversation, but she left in tears.
Then, during my last block of the day, Yearbook – in which I made a mistake by moving it to a three times a week class to a twice a week class – Google went down. Google, people. If Google goes down, you know the actual Apocalypse is near. It made the last hour of my day a giant babysitting gig, as I tried to shift gears and get an alternate assignment up and running, but when your entire class is Google based and everything you need is held captive in Google Classroom or Drive, your world kind of collapses.
That finally ends, and another student accosts me about a grade. She is upset about a C. The pressure to get straight A’s is real. And devastating when you don’t. (Side note: I was never the kid who got straight A’s or felt any real pressure to do so, so I struggle with how to help kids see it really isn’t that serious even when the pressure coming from peers and family is suffocating.) I gently explained we would review it after everyone had taken it, but tried to encourage her not to worry. It was one grade in a sea of grades this quarter. She left in tears.
Yay! Two kids crying in one day. So awesome. Not.
Then, I hit up a restaurant with friends after work. We talked about the things teachers talk about – grading papers, making assignments, tech integration. The usual. Then we started chatting about shifting cultures and school change. I know I come from an idealistic standpoint whereby I expect everyone to want to be the best at what they do, to strive for greatness, to care more about the kids then themselves and to want to do better. And when they don’t, I expect them to be dealt with. I know this isn’t “the real world of leadership” but I just want to believe that teachers are better than this. I have the type of personality (flaw) that doesn’t understand being okay with mediocrity. This is not to say I am exemplary at every thing I do, but I also rarely continue doing things if I can’t be good at them. And if I enjoy them, I continue doing everything I can to be great at it. I don’t get just settling. So, this conversation just led to a rain cloud hanging over my head.
Then, we headed out to a friend’s birthday. I’m trying to explain all of this craziness to my husband, who argues with me about all the ways I am wrong instead of just listening.
We hit up a music festival. Then another restaurant after for dessert. And all of the negativity of my day just culminated in a total shut down, both mentally and emotionally.
I guess I’m lucking that all of that didn’t make its way into my classroom. The kids will never know just how bad yesterday was.
We will start fresh on Monday.