There are days that are perfect. You know the kind. The class starts with everyone seated on time working on your warm up activity. Everyone turns in homework on time. Every demonstration you planned wows every student. When requested, the students put themselves into groups in a way that no one feels left out. And you smile and wonder what sort of magic you’ve managed to weave in the class.
Then there are other kinds of days. Days where not everyone is doing the warm up. Days where your best plans fail. Days where the students’ side conversations are more important than the demonstrations you’ve planned. You feel like you need to stand on the desk and “speak loudly” to get anyone’s attention. Sometimes these days make you question your choice of this profession. Sometimes these days make you want to bang your head against the wall and go home and cry.
The former are wonderful and the latter are painful, but it’s the hard days that can inspire us to get better. On Friday, my students engaged in their first “weekly reflection” of the year. I reminded them at the outset that “no one is perfect.” We all have room for growth. It is our challenging days as teachers that remind us where our biggest areas for growth are.
Challenging days push us deeper into our training in psychology and learning theory. They cause us to think about how children learn and what engages our students. These days remind us that we aren’t perfect and that we can grow. They may encourage us to reach out to teachers we don’t usually seek advice from. Days like this may push us towards blogs and digital professional learning networks where group synergy can solve most any problem.
Or, those days can make us check the calendar to see h0w many days are left in the school year (or until retirement). They can make us callous toward “those kids,” setting the rest of the school year up as a battle.
This year, when you have one of those rough days, chose growth instead of grumbling, and remember these words from Rita Pierson: “We can do this. We’re educators. We’re born to make a difference.”
(Listen to Rita Pierson’s TED talk here. https://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion)