I was just looking at Facebook and there was a post about the Forest School. Inquisitive kids huddled around a teacher in nature appearing eager to learn. And I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to work with kids who are so eager to learn?
But then I caught myself. Why would I think my own students are not also inquisitive and eager to learn? They are. They show me often that they are. I had to remind myself that just today I was on the playground with two of my students crouched down watching baby Box Elder bugs crawl all over the place. We discussed the safety of touching them and who their parents might be and remembered that we shouldn’t kill them because they are just living their life.
And then I watched my students pair up with one another and play. For real. Like kids play. Laughing and chasing and challenging one another and listening to one another for the rest of recess.
Shortly before this moment we were in the classroom. It was a mess. Torn paper all over the floor. Books thrown from the bookshelf. Pencils and crayons all over. We had just finished reading our Super Hero Training book and had just taken our worries and thrown them out in a place of our choosing (some chose the garbage, others the sink and a couple chose the funny spot of the toilet). After throwing our worries away I took a risk and told them they would need to clean the room in five minutes before we went for recess. They scrambled up and ran to their assigned jobs. They went beyond what was asked and returned furniture to its correct spaces too. Then they all returned to the rug. One looked up at me and said, “Teacher Beth, can I give you a hug?” Sure, I said. He hugged me and sat down. Then one by one 3 more asked the same question, came up, gave me a hug and sat down again.
This was a rough week. I cried on Wednesday as I sat in the principal’s office and had to consider requesting a mentor. I cried as I felt like I couldn’t do anything right and I was failing at this job. I cried because I want to be a great teacher, I want to do amazing things for these kids, I want to feel proud and successful. I cried because I have to let go of my pride and open up to the fact that I need help. I cried because even though I need help I know I’m good at some parts of all this and I’m not sure administration realizes this.
And then Thursday I came into work completely drained from crying on Wednesday and cried again. In front of my youngest student who ran out of the room scared because his teacher was crying. He even said to me later, “Why was you crying?” It broke my heart.
So this week was like a roller coaster from feeling utterly defeated and sucked of any confidence or ounce of energy to watching my students have these beautiful moments today when I thought to myself, we can do this. We can be a kind, loving community who struggles from time to time but also grows and learns together.
So, I’ll spend another day this weekend planning the lessons for the coming week that we may or may not even do and I’ll get up Monday morning and I’ll go back and I’ll try it all again.