Today is a good day on my journey towards becoming a professional know-it-all (a “teacher” in the vernacular). It’s great to have a win. It’s been a bit of a tough week so today feels a little extra sweet.
But before I get into all the good stuff, it helps to have a little context. A few weeks ago I wrote a post called But this one kid… It was about my struggles with a certain student. Yesterday, I spent 45 minutes just trying to get him to write down his homework in his planner. He’s supposed to be reading 20 minutes a night six days a week, so I tried to get him to tell me about what he’d been reading. Despite the fact that’d he’d “turned in his reading log” that morning, and supposedly read for two hours over the past week, he couldn’t tell me a single thing he’d read except “something about a newt.” The whole time he whined and scoffed at me. He blamed me for everything. He lied repeatedly about everything. He was disrespectful. He tried tattling to my boss about all the horrors I was forcing upon him. He took a long potty-break during which, I am fairly certain, he called him mommy on me again. All this just because I was trying to get him to write his homework in his planner.
This time, I was in a take-no-prisoners mood. I told him straight up not to waste my time. I told him he didn’t need to make EVERYTHING a battle and that he could just write down his homework and move on. I could feel the other teachers watching the drama unfold. Eventually, I had to give up on his homework check and move on to the verbal program– He got one short exercise done but scored a 10/20 on it. With 15 minutes left I told him to start the next thing– all he had to do was read a few short paragraphs. Just before he left, I took the book away from him and asked him what it was about. He couldn’t tell me. I went back to work today filled with dread, anxiety, and frustration.
But walking through those doors today was phenomenal. All three of my bosses greeted me with smiles. I worked with four kids at a time, but every one of them was happy to be there. They chatted with me, they worked hard, they got a lot done, they excelled, and I even got some of my most anti-reading students interested in the summer reading challenge. They shared with me and joked around. I explained math and English concepts to them and they understood. Even better, even when they made mistakes, my encouragement seemed to actually build their confidence. It was a great day and I want to be sure and focus on the positives and celebrate the wins when they come.