Thursday, January 17, 2013
It's a Harsh World Out There...
Being a teacher is the most rewarding, fulfilling, motivational job on the planet. In my mind, anyways. There just isn't anything else I could do that could be so important than to prepare the kids of today for their future. Well, maybe except being a parent...and I'm one of those too.
I've only been doing this for 6 months, but there's not a day that goes by where I don't love my job - and care about the job that I'm doing.
But, there are days where I wonder if I'm getting the right message through. If I'm maybe trying too hard...pushing too hard...expecting too much. There are days that go by that make me wonder if I'm doing something wrong...not pushing hard enough...being too lenient on my expectations.
This week, I've found myself to be pretty darn cranky with my kids. Not because I'm in a cranky mood, but simply because it feels like I'm a broken record saying the same thing over, and over, and over...and still not getting through. Or when I explain an assignment several times, write it on the board, and still wander around the room to discover that half of the kids are doing what they want...and not following the directions at all. Or when we grade an assignment, and a kiddo has made something like a 33%...which is an F...and they just shrug like it's no big deal without a care in the world.
It's frustrating. Simply because I wonder what I'm doing that's making these kids not seem to care.
I've found myself lecturing these kids on how this type of behavior won't cut it in the "real world". I've used the example "If I showed up to work, and had to be told 15 times what to do only to not do it or only get 33% of my paperwork correct... I wouldn't have a job for very long" way too many times.
The problem is, my 4th grade students don't make the connection to what they're doing today to how it will affect them in the future. And I'm starting to think that maybe they shouldn't be. Or, maybe they should but only when it's for the future they want for themselves....if that makes sense.
I was one of those very few kids that had her future career plans made up by the time I was in first grade. I knew that one day I wanted to be a teacher. So, it was a natural process for me to soak up everything my teachers said to me, do everything that was expected of me, make good grades. The whole time being motivated by the idea that I couldn't be a teacher if I didn't. But several kids have no idea what they want to be until they've started college. So, why on earth would they be motivated and excited about fulfilling their career dreams in 4th grade?
Which means I have to find another way to spark motivation in to these kids. Give them a purpose. Show them that their hard work matters...it means something.
How do I do that? Well, if I knew the answer to that, I wouldn't be sitting here asking it. HA!
What I do know is that no matter how tough things get... I won't give up. I won't give up on the fact that I will find whatever it is that will switch that spark inside of them. No matter how much they don't like school, or don't like the work, or just don't care what their grades look like. I will find a way to make them care.
Because that's why I became a teacher.