Today should have been a "breeze", a great start to the week after ending last week with a snow day. I arrived bright and chipper this morning, organized, and excited to see the kids again and get started on some learning. I was refreshed and revitalized by the three day weekend.
I'm not sure where things went amok, but it was shortly after the bell rang. I stood outside the classroom door, greeting the students as they arrived, and chatting with some about their Friday snow day. Business as usual. When I went into the classroom, things seemed a bit confusing and loud, but I chalked it up to the new seat arrangement. They are just finding their new seat and getting settled in, I reassured myself. They'll get focused and working soon.
After about five more minutes, I was beginning to lose hope. They were loitering about in all corners of the room. The majority were not in their seats and didn't look as if that was a priority. I announced via microphone that they were to find their seat, get settled, and copy tonight's assignment into their planner. I pointed out that the bell rang almost ten minutes ago and we were losing precious learning time.
That worked for a bit and the students copied notes into their planners and began a math journal page. But within a few minutes, the decibel level began to rise again. I quickly glanced at the clock and knew that this day wasn't going to go the way I had hoped.
But then I remembered that I am the poster child for positivity this year and that I needed to pull myself together and smile. Only I could turn this day around and I was going to do it! A little bit of chatting wasn't going to beat me. Rah! Rah!
Again, it worked for a bit. But I was learning that I was no match for the squirming, chatty, wiggling, energetic bunch of twenty-two little ones. Especially after indoor recess was declared. In all honestly, all I wanted to do was sit in a chair and read a book, maybe sip a cup of coffee and not have to be constantly in charge and "on".
Like always, a few of the intuitive little ones noticed I wasn't quite on my "A" game today. They watched me from the corner of their eyes and said, "Thank you," when I passed out an assignment. Eventually, one brave one approached me as I stood by the Promethean ready to explain math workshop for the day.
"What did you do on the snow day?" she asked enthusiastically. I looked at her cute little headband and her tights and her sparkly nail polish. Should I tell her that I spent part of it working like I do every day? Should I tell her that I was readying curriculum for this week? Making a new seating chart? Going over NWEA reports?
"I slept in and I stayed in my pajamas all day and I watched TV!" I fibbed. After all, she was just trying to cheer me up a bit.
"Wasn't it great?" she squealed.
"It sure was," I confirmed. And she bounced back to her new seat.
It wasn't that anything was wrong today; it just seemed that everything was a bit off. There was too much talking and too much silliness. There was too much time in the hallway and too much interrupting. There were too many times I had to repeat directions and stop and wait for their attention. My room was a moving, wriggling wave.
I continued into the afternoon, self-talking myself to stay positive. It helped when I ran into a few teacher friends in the copy room and they relayed the same issues in their classroom. At the end of the day, as I left with a fellow teacher and shared with her my woes of the day, she reminded me that it's winter. That these are the toughest months for both the kids and the teachers. Couped up. Cold weather. Darkness.
I have had several careers. I've traveled and presented. I've hosted meetings and coordinated projects. I've balanced budgets and trained untrainable people. I've answered phones and typed statistical reports.
But, as a teacher, I come home most days pretty tired. But some days, like today, are completely exhausting.
I'm going to bed early tonight to be rested for tomorrow. It's another day and I need my "A" game back.