That's the view I have at this very moment. As I sit out in my little side yard, feeling the warmth of the grill, and listening to the birds chirping. It's beautiful. And exactly what I needed after my long, exhausting week.
I'll be honest, I didn't blog this morning because I didn't want to get out of bed. I turned my alarm clock off every ten minutes for an hour. My warm bed was just too comfy and I just couldn't make myself get out of it until I absolutely had to.
Yesterday was a rough day. The kids were a little crazy, probably because of yet another change in the weather. I felt a little disheartened after seeing some data on my kids' progress, and I honestly just felt like crawling up in to a hole and not coming out. Which is basically what I did when I got home. Relaxed, curled up in my bed, and wouldn't let myself out until I had to.
This morning was MUCH better. Even though I still felt a little melancholy over the recent progress data I was given on some of my students, I went to the one person I knew would give me the pep talk I needed to tackle my blues head on.
And she did exactly what I thought she would...gave me a swift kick of reality and told me I was doing everything I could. Hearing her tell me I'm a good teacher because I care so much is always a nice feeling. I'll elaborate more on that situation in tomorrow's post... she even gave me a great title from which to jump off of.
But, today was all about letting go. And I did. I loaded my kids up, twice, today to visit the computer lab for some hands on technology. First, blogging. Then, the end of the afternoon was spent playing Minecraft.
It was actually a pretty good day. We had fun. A word I just haven't let in to my classroom enough, lately. I consider myself to be a pretty fun teacher. Not all of my students would agree, I'm sure, but I try and carve out some time here and there to show them how much I appreciate their hard work, and show them that I'm not always a hardcore, pedal to the metal, all work and no play kind of teacher.
Which they actually know I'm not. Even when we are working our fingers to the bone, it's done with several laughs and me acting goofy at least for a few minutes during my teaching time.
I actually had one of "those moments" today. One that reinforced why I do what I do, and how I do it.
I've got a student in my class that hasn't exactly warmed up to my quirky ways. In fact, we've butted heads pretty much every day since the moment he walked in to my class. If I say go left, he goes right. If I say no talking, he's talking. If I say anything, he does the complete opposite.
Up until a few weeks ago.
I had been around and around with his mom, explaining my struggles, and not really getting anywhere. She was also frustrated, and it basically got to the point where she wanted her son out of my class. And that broke my heart.
Sure, I'm tough. Sure, I have very high expectations. Sure, I live by the motto of "no excuses". But, I have never wanted a student to get to the point where they just want out. That's a little too much. Does it mean I'm going to back off? Heck no!! It just means I'm going to push harder!!
All it took for me to finally help this boy understand that he could push as hard as he want and not phase me a bit was by simply saying five simple words "I won't give up on you". I told him I understood he was having trouble at home. I told him I knew how smart he was. I told him I knew that there was other things he was thinking about besides spelling contracts and multiplication facts. But, I also told him that none of those things would keep me off his case. None of them would make me go easy on him. I simply told him.. I wouldn't give up on him, and that I'd keep pushing and pushing until he realized WHY I was doing what I was doing.
And, come to find out, hearing those words was all he needed. He needed to know that I wasn't going to wash my hands of him. I wasn't going to leave him. I just WASN'T going to give up.
Today, I had the kids write a little fun writing prompt for St. Patricks Day. They had to write a short paragraph on someone that meant more to them than gold. Most kids wrote about their moms, some wrote about their sisters or dads or other family members. But, the boy I just told you about? He wrote about me.
He wrote how I was worth more to him than gold because I won't give up on him. That I keep pushing him. That I teach him in a way that doesn't make him want to pull his hair out. And that I've taught him everything he needs to know.
In his picture, he even replicated my famous eyebrow raise PERFECTLY!
*Cue emotional and motivational music*
And that, folks, is why I do my job. For those kids. For the kids that need to know that I won't EVER give up on them.
I have kids that can't read very well. I have kids that can barely add 5+5 together. I have kids that would rather be anywhere else on the planet than sitting in a classroom every day. And THOSE are the kids that HAVE to understand that they are no different from any other child in my room. They will get the same love, the same care, the same tough attitude, and the same expectations as everyone else.
I need them to know that I will do EVERYTHING in my power to give them all the tools they need to improve, fill some of those gaps, and put them in a level playing field with the rest of their grade level.
It's what I do.
I have tough weeks like this week because of that very reason. There are times where I feel like I'm not doing enough, like I'm not seeing the gains I should... and then I'm reminded of who I am and what I do.
And, all I need is to come home, destress for the weekend, and strategize on how I'm going to do what I need to do.
That's what's on the agenda for this weekend. As soon as I enjoy my evening of relaxing and eating BBQ. HA!