Monday, April 25, 2011

It's hard to explain....

In any industry there are things that are easy to explain and things that are hard to explain.  The interesting thing is trying to explain those concepts or feelings to people who have never worked in that field.  Add in a language barrier and it becomes damn near impossible to accurately explain why certain things happen and how it effects you.  Today is a perfect example of that.  As any teacher knows, or any parent knows there are good days and bad days for behavior.  On any given day a class may decide that they are going to be the worst class in the entire school.  It just happens.  Another interesting phenomenon is when an entire grade, or school decides to have a bad day.  I've been there for enough of them to tell you that it really happens.

If you have been involved in education long enough you know that the only thing you can do is bear down and get through the day.  It makes the day exceptionally frustrating and aggravating but at the end of the day you know that you fought the good fight.  You may want a shot or two of something hard, but you know you got through it.  Most people, however, only have classroom experience from the student side.  Day like this, (like today for me) take a huge toll.

How do you explain to someone that it's hard not to feel like you have failed in some way.  Take my case for example, I have been teaching most of these kids for close to 3 years.  They know they my rules and they know that I expect the best behavior from them.  Not only do they know this, but they actively work to reach my expectations.  When my students have a bad day, it's hard for me to not take it personally.  You can think that you have made giant strides in behavioral control and classroom management, only to have months of work undone by one hour of student behavior.  Every time this happens it's hard not to have a few twinges of self-doubt about how your approach is being received. 

As a teacher your job goes far beyond just teaching.  Discipline is something that we are constantly involved in, not because it makes our jobs easier, but because schools are expected to socialize our students for entry into the workplace.  Where do you think you learn the consequences of being late, not doing what is expected of you, not following directions, etc?  Schools, and more importantly teachers are responsible for this education.  We are constantly trying to create and develop positive growth in all types of areas.  I have spent months trying to get a class to recognize that their behavior has consequences and when they do not meet my expectations the consequences are not fun.  When a class or school are having a bad day it's really hard not to think for a moment that you actually have accomplished nothing.  It's not entirely true, you have still accomplished something, but you have a major setback and must start at a point much farther away from where you want to be.

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