Let’s try again


I started a post twice earlier today.  I took part in one of my favorite Twitter chats, #sunchat, always inspiring and uplifting. Today’s topic was reinventing yourself as a teacher.

I began my earlier attempt at a post reflecting on that chat like this:

My introductory tweet included that I reinvent myself all the time, but by the time we finished the chat, I realized that’s not really true. It’s my nature to reflect and go back to the drawing board over and over, so the fact that I continue to do so is not so much reinvention as continuing to do my best for students and myself. My best isn’t always best, though.

But both of my earlier attempts melted into a simmering pot of feeling sorry for myself and listing attempts throughout the year to try new things that often (but not always) failed. I thought I was leading up to something good, but I got so mired in the failures and the apathy and why things might not be working that I just struck through all of it (I never delete anything) and decided to try again later.

Well, it’s later.

I accomplished a few things on my to do list today.

Those included gathering info for taxes (I know, it’s after April 15), completing #3 son’s FAFSA, gathering ideas for the rehearsal dinner my husband and I will be hosting for #2 son who graduates from college the beginning of May and gets married at the end of May, laundry, lesson plans (OK, I did some of that), grading (oops) and, believe it or not, I ended that list, which I wrote in a DM to my #jerdchat buddy Starr Sackstein, “ridicule myself.” She congratulated me on the good stuff, but was sure to make it clear that didn’t include the ridiculing.

I share that so that I can share this.

Within the #sunchat this morning, I favorited several things to go back and read later. One of those was Jon Harper’s blog post entitled “You’re Not as Good as You Think You Should Be.”

It was as if he’d been with me all morning watching me struggle to find something positive to blog about, wondering why all these #sunchat teachers have so many positive things to say about teaching, about engaging students, when I keep seeing a number of students pop up in my mind that I have not been able to engage, that I have not been able to make a connection with. I replay the days that make me feel like a terrible teacher because students won’t turn in work or tell me they hate reading or don’t care. Those moments weigh me down.

But Jon’s post made me see, though I already knew it in some part of my mind, that we have awesome moments, too, but those awesome moments do not make up 80 percent of anyone’s day. The awesome moments are just that. They are moments, and they do mean something. But just because much of the other time feels like I’m not making headway doesn’t mean that I’m not. I have to stop – we have to stop – comparing ourselves the ideal of what we’d like to be, what we are in our grandest moments, what our PLN is when they blog about their grandest moments.

And with that, I believe that I can face another week. After all, I just watched “Shakespeare in Love,” and that has me pumped to tackle Act 5 of “Romeo & Juliet” with my freshmen.

About teachjournalism
I am a high school teacher of journalism, technology and reading. I advise the school's newspaper and yearbook, both student-led publications. Documenting and sharing my experiences is a way of reflecting to improve my own work and and inviting commentary so that we might all benefit. I believe, as I tell my students each year, that we all learn from each other.

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