Saturday, September 8, 2012

Smoothing out the roughness

Tuesday was one of my toughest days as a teacher. I was already having a bad day....recovering from being sick, forgot we had staff photos in the morning, things weren't going as planned, I barely ate a few bites of lunch and had a growly tummy, etc. The icing on the cake was when our new principal came in for his first unannounced observation. It was the last hour of the day and everything about it was a disaster. I was (and still am) mortified and fighting feelings of inadequacy. I am my own toughest critic, and while my principal was nothing but kind and provided excellent feedback, I have trouble shaking some of the overwhelming feelings of failure. Tuesday night I was a mess of tears and emotions, but I went in on Wednesday with a plan, and the rest of the week went much smoother and I was less frustrated and frazzled.

I wasn't going to post about this because when I read teacher blogs they paint their profession as perfect and I didn't want to show my weakness. These teacher bloggers have classrooms that are colorful and nothing it out of place, their lessons are beautiful and engaging, they have time to create new resources, their students have perfect behavior, and nothing bad ever happens. I decided to post this because it is reality. Teaching is a tough job. We all have bad days, and I've come to learn that the best teachers are ones who reflect on their practices and strive to improve their craft.

Yesterday I woke up to a cloudy sky (I LOVE rainy days) and headed to work. Just before the morning bell rang the rain came crashing down and the students hurried into the classrooms. In our Arizona desert we get afternoon summer monsoon rain that is short lived. This rain was a steady downpour that lasted all morning and into part of the afternoon. Usually we don't get days like this at all, and when we do they are in winter. I propped our classroom door open and we worked quietly to the backdrop of the rain and thunder and let in the refreshing smell. It was a good end to a rough week.

I have so much I have planned to share (the good stuff that we've been up to) but I've been busy, and I'm still getting over this nasty cough. We've only got three more weeks of the quarter and then two weeks of break!


  1. I completely agree with you. Teaching can be very challenging and frustrating. Sometimes it seems as though tough days outweigh all the good ones. I have definitely gone home in tears before. But then there's a smile on a child's face that makes everything better! My year got off to a bit of a rough start too. I hope things get better for you!

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

  2. You have to remember that the other teachers do have days like you had; they just aren't comfortable enough to post about it. I'm glad you wrote about your day. I am a middle school science teacher and this year my last hour of the day has been testing my patience. I come home every day questioning whether I will be able to get through this year or not. Your principal knows that teachers have "off" days; they're not judging you based on the 5 minutes or so they saw of your classroom on one day of the entire school year. Just remember you ARE making a difference in children's lives!

  3. Thanks ladies! I know that all teachers have off days, it's just hard to read some of these blogs because they have the appearance of perfection.

    What made the observation even more difficult is that he was in my room for the whole last hour of school. I have never had a principal stay for more than 20 minutes. The longer he stayed the more my anxiety increased. He had nothing but praise and helpful suggestions when I met with him later, but it was still a blow to my ego. Even though it was painful, I know that it will only make me a better teacher :D

  4. Keep your chin up! I'm so glad that you wrote a post about the reality of teaching. We all have days like that. A fellow blogger and I had a conversation not too long ago about feeling like we needed to sometimes post about bad days. They help you, the blogger process, and honestly they help everyone else recognize we are not alone on those days.
    I hope you feel better soon and that this coming week is a better one for you!

    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

  5. Awesome post! Thank you for letting us into your world.

  6. Great post! I am glad your week got better... Tuesday was a pretty awful day for me too!! For such a short week (we had Labor day off) this week lasted forever! Hope this week is a thousand times better.... and dont worry we all have bad days :) Thanks for sharing!


  7. I love your honesty. I started my blog a little over a year ago and one of the reasons that I have been so lackadaisy about posting is because I feel inadequate after reading other blogs. Your little story has inspired me and the "light bulb" turned on :) I imagine every person/teacher has felt this way, but doesn't want to air their laundry. I think we should share the good, the bad and the ugly. Thank You!!!

  8. Thank you so much Debbie! That is exactly why I posted this blog. Before this incident I was actually tempted to write a post on how discouraging it often was to read other teacher blogs because they contributed to that feeling of inadequacy. I want my students to learn from their mistakes/weaknesses/etc., and so I must do the same. I've only been blogging for a few months, but it has helped me grow as a teacher already!

    I just perused your blog and I love all of the activities and ideas you have! Keep blogging!

  9. I stumbled across your blog post and completely relate. I just started blogging but I try really hard to write down the good and the bad school shenanigans, sometimes with hope that other teachers have suggestions and sometimes just to get it all out. I think my Tuesday sounded just like your Tuesday. I joke that 7th period is trying to kill me and having unannounced visit from my princpal on Tuesday was exactly what I didn't need. She stuck around for 20+ minutes and had nothing positive written on the form, didn't help that a student choose to walk out and she had to go get him. I can be my own worst critique too, so it's nice to hear stories about other teachers less than stellar observations.


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