April 22, 2010

We speak for the trees!

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It's not.
The Lorax

I remember about a month into the school year my friend asked me if I loved my new job. More than anything, I was irritated by this question. Do I love it? Was she kidding? Some days I could barely even get myself out of the car when I got to school in the mornings. Why didn't she understand how hard it was? But had she understood how hard it was, she of course would have said, "so quit!" That would have outraged me just as much. Quit? Quit on my students? How could she even suggest that???

The thing about teaching is that it's a love/hate kind of job. There is so much stress and so many little things to drive you crazy, but every good teacher knows that she could never, ever be doing anything else.
Today I was thinking about that question, and about how far I've come this year. Here's the thing--no, I don't know that I would say I LOVE everything about school right now. The kids still make me crazy and I am still stressed out sometimes. But I have come to realize that it's not about loving every single moment of every single day. It's about loving a few moments out of everyday. As long as those moments are the big ones, it's worth it.

For example, today was earth day.  Instead of doing our regular shared reading from the literacy series, I read The Lorax.  Just a quick word on reading Dr. Seuss aloud:  I love love love attempting to pronounce the bizarre with enthusiastic rhythm and voices.  Anyways, I digress.  So, I read The Lorax, a book that still gives my vegetarian peace-loving eco friendly self absolute chills every time I read it, and was so thrilled that my (rowdy) students actually enjoyed sitting on the carpet and listening.  We had a great discussion about the literary elements in the book, the author's purpose, and how the colors in the illustrations affect the mood of the book.  But more importantly, we had a wonderful conversation about the environment and wrote pledges for helping the earth.  Will this realistically change the students' ideals?  Not likely.  But at least they were talking about it. 

And this was one of those times that I can look back and say with utter certainty, "Yes, I loved teaching that today."  Did I love every moment of today?  No, I did not love when I had to yell at a student for writing a hurtful note to another student, or when I had to reprimand a student for running in the classroom and he was nearly in tears over it, or when one of my more challenging students couldn't find his scissors and proceeded to almost melt down over it, spending the next hour grumbling (audibly) about how someone stole his scissors or something along those lines...no, those moments I didn't love. 

But it is worth all those moments and so many more to experience those moments that really touch my heart, like reading The Lorax aloud on Earth Day.

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