Today I failed, but I know ways to improve.
It was hot, I was cranky and my normally endless patience, that I have acquired from being a middle school teacher, was oddly in short supply. I wanted to do better; I wanted to be better, but I wasn’t. Today, I left school glad the day was over, but feeling like I had failed. I didn’t actually do anything wrong. Objectives were met, assessments were taken, but the joy I want to instill in children did not come through today. Today I failed. I was not the teacher I want to be. Today I failed, but I know ways to improve.
As the end of the school year approaches, it is very easy to fall into the “it’s almost over” or “how many days are left” feeling. But if the kids are still coming, we still have work to do. And really after your first year of teaching, you learn pretty fast that there is no worse day in school than a free day. If you don’t have a lesson, the room will nearly self destruct.
If we are going in …
So if we are going in, and the kids are going in and lessons need to be taught, it really is just about changing our attitudes. Rather than wishing the rest of the year away (I know it can be hard, because when the school year ends the glorious summer begins), let’s try to change our attitudes about what we are doing and why we are doing it.
We teach because we love it and we love learning. We teach because we love kids. But when the weather gets warm, we start to forget it. We start to focus on how tired we are and how we need a break. Our passion gets sidetracked and just like the students, we are take over by spring fever.
Because of this, today I failed, but I know ways to improve.
5 Ways to Improve
Try something new.
A new style of lesson, a new type of technology. As teachers we know that learning never stops and if we model this for our students, it will inspire them to learn. Once our students are inspired, the work and the joy will follow.
Focus on planning.
Select an aspect of your planning and finish it for the year. If it is making your copies, writing your lesson plans or creating the slides. Once you have completed a task, it will give you a sense of accomplishment. It will also help to bring you back to the here and now and allow you to focus on giving your best to your students.
Write a note to your students.
Whether you know it or not you have had an impact on your students and your opinion matters to them. Writing them a note of support will not only encourage them to continue to do their best after they leave your room, it will help remind you why you do this job. One of the best parts of this job is letting a child know that someone thinks that they are amazing!
Bring out the art supplies.
Create, build, color. Have some fun in class. Having students use a text to create art meets standards and makes everyone happy. We all love to color, so figure out how you can add an artistic project to the end of the year.
Add jokes to your worksheets. Put funny memes in your lessons. Have Justin Timberlake sing “It’s gonna be May”. Figure out a way to laugh in class. Let your students know that you are still happy to be there, that you want to be there. Students know and appreciate when their teacher really want to work with them.
So if you, like me, feel like you may be slipping and heat (and the smells) are starting to get to you, remember, you do love what you do. Let’s end this year on a high note. And when the final bell of the year rings, we will know that we did the best we could and gave it our all, because we are teachers!