October 9, 2009

To the child who made me cry today:

How do you do it? How do you make so angry, so frustrated, so stressed? Our argument today happened ten hours ago, yet somehow I'm sitting here at home on a Friday night, so upset with you that I can't get over it. I don't understand how you are able to make me this angry. And I really don't understand why you do it. Today, I thought, "You are the student who is going to make me quit my job." Yes, that's dramatic, but no child has made me feel so livid and push me so close to the edge as you did today.

When you decide to misbehave, you make me feel that YOU are the one running the class. I hate that feeling. Every strategy for classroom management I've been taught is lost on you. Whatever I say, whatever I do, you have a comeback. You just don't care.

You make me forget why I love teaching. You make my classroom feel like a prison and you make me feel like the worst person in the world. I am out of ideas. I don't understand why you behave this way some days, and other days have a huge smile and want to tell me about your favorite books and joke around with me. I don't get it!!! I don't understand. But I am trying so hard. I refuse to tolerate your lack of effort. No, I won't accept the work that you hastily made up answers on just so you can get it over with. This is not your best. Do it again.

And then...then, we get into an argument. Because I refuse to put an F in my gradebook for you when I know you are capable of SO. MUCH. MORE. I am doing everything I know how to help you learn and grow and achieve. But I can only take you so far.

Don't you see? I WANT to help you. I WANT to understand you. But on days like today, when you act like you did and yell and throw your things around, when you kick your chair and stop class with your protesting yell that you did nothing wrong, even though you know what choice you made...days when you leave me so shaking angry that I wonder if I'll be able to pull myself together enough to teach my next lesson...on days like today, I just want to give up and say, "Okay. You win. Congrats."

So here I am, 8:24 Friday night, still crying about how I'm failing you as a teacher. And how I'm allowing you to get to me. And how you are making me fail as the teacher to the other 23 kids in our class. And as much as I know I need to let it go...it's not that easy. Today you made me want to quit my job. I know that that's ridiculous: I'm frustrated, I'm exhausted. I also know that I will never quit on you.

I will never quit on you. Let me say that once more: I will never quit on you. I don't understand why you're so angry.  But you need to understand that I will never quit on you. We will make it through this year.

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