Imagine that this, above, is your setting for 5 days - from 8:10 until about noon each day. Except that the words on the window - taken down. Any interesting posters - taken down. Bare concrete block walls, tile floors, fluorescent light, and silence surround you. In the 3 to 4 hours you are testing, … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 13: The reality of high-stakes TESTING
The week before spring break stretches on for much longer than five work days. Or at least it feels longer! I was just sure that Wednesday was Thursday. My body, mind, and spirit felt Thursday. But the calendar said "Wednesday." And on Thursday I had several students who are usually calm and corporative be a bit … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 12: Dreading Spring Break?
I knew this time was coming. I didn't know how long it would take. But it has arrived. The time when I know my students well enough that I start seeing or sensing their stories. Their challenges. Their deep pain. Communities in which poverty trickles down and settles carry the pains of our society. My … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Weeks 10 & 11: Sadness & Grace
Society's ills have fallen squarely on the shoulders of these children, these 11 and 12 and 13 and 14 year olds.
Whenever I go through something new and difficult, I find myself searching for what feels normal. "Normal" is the way life used to be before my change. And I'm always sure that the former "normal" is better than what I'm experiencing right now.
Really, Universe, really??! It's not enough to be depleted? I have to be sick twice in one week with a stomach bug . . . and then come down with a cold???
I hoped that after a week off, in a week of only four days, that I would turn the corner on this exhaustion. That I'd have some stamina. That I wouldn't be depleted after each day. I was wrong.
I know I'm the teacher, but in this situation I'm just as much a learner as my students are. And perhaps even more so.
I'd hoped that I'd be adjusting to the energy expenditure of teaching middle school by now. But I haven't. I was totally exhausted when I got up Wednesday morning, wondering how I'd manage to get through the day. Monday and Tuesday I felt like the lion tamer in the old days of the circus, the … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 4: Exhausted
I'm learning that unpredictability is going to be a big part of my life now as a middle school teacher. It's kind of like four years ago when I was going through cancer treatments. One of my big struggles was the unpredictability then, too. How would the side effects manifest during chemo treatment? How would the radiation affect me … Continue reading Teaching Middle School, Week 3: Not only the weather was unpredictable!