Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Choose Your Attitude

I teach three Language Arts classes each day. Two of the classes are blocked periods, meaning I get the same group of kids for two periods. The other class I share with my colleague, I get them fourth hour, she has them tenth hour. It’s a pretty amazing schedule.

To open class today I reminded them of the three different assignments we have this week. One is a week long assignment, one they are working on for the first three days of the week, one we will complete on Friday. I tried to give them a rough idea of how to budget their time. Then I taught the necessary lessons and let them work while I moved around to confer with kids on their writing.

The thing I’m struck by often as I talk to my seventh grade students is just how much I enjoy this age group. They are hilarious.

Yesterday, I had a kid who towers over me. Although, to be fair, I’m only five foot two. (Which is stretching the truth just a bit.) The giant kid sat down at the table with his friend when class began and gave me a side eye while he logged in to his Chromebook to “check-in” for Status of the Class.

I asked him what the look was for.

His reply was, “Soooooo, Mrs. S. Like how mad are you going to be if I mention that I *might* not have cracked a book open over Spring Break?”

My reply was to wrap my arms around his shoulders and shake him back and forth while he laughed a huge laugh that filled the room and said, “My bad…” over and over and over.

We laughed.

Today we watched THIS video when learning about Jane Goodall for a short research unit. The video has an orange monkey walking through a snowy woods at the beginning. In my 8th hour class I immediately mentioned that I didn’t know the name of this type of monkey because I knew at least three of them would ask me otherwise. As soon as I said it, I wanted to hit my head with my hand because these kids, who I adore, immediately began Googling to try and find out what the name of said monkey was.

The thing that teaching has taught me, and middle school more than any other, is the need to laugh. I could look at those furious fingers flying over keyboards to find the name of that darn monkey and want to remind them to pay attention. Instead I choose to be honored that they want to “help” me by finding the name for something I don’t know. I could get frustrated that a kid who truly needs to read each day instead spent nine days not reading. Instead I appreciate that he tells me the truth now when he absolutely didn't at the start of the year.

Choosing your attitude was something my first principal in this district talked a lot about nineteen years ago. It is just as important today as it was back then.

Most days I am grateful my job. It is a privilege to teach these kids. And while days might come where I’m exhausted, where I would have loved to stay in bed just a big longer, I know I will never be bored. I know that even on the hardest of days I will have a full body laugh at least once. Today that happened multiple times.

I am certainly blessed.