This morning I got my usual Sunday morning email from Teaching the Core author, Dave Stuart Jr. (@davestuartjr) and I laid in bed reading it, as I do most Sunday mornings as I struggle to get myself out of bed.
Today’s post was about gratitude and it really struck me. Last week I wrote about my One Little Word (Cultivate) for 2015. I enjoyed finding my word and deciding what role I wanted it to play in my personal and professional life this year, but after reading Dave’s post this morning I felt the need to say more. I was really moved by the story of his wife (not gonna lie, I had teary eyes) and then to read his thoughts on gratitude in the classroom.
As I read, I immediately thought of the previous week. It was rough getting up early after 16 days off. I was tired, cranky, and not looking forward to the next 18 weeks. The spring semester always seems harder. It seems slower, busier, and longer. Why is that? Anyway, all these negatives swirled through my head last week and on top of those, I got new students in three of my classes (Public Speaking).
While I’ve been excited for the chance to start over at the semester–it’s not very often we get to put our tweaks and ideas into effect so soon–but I was nervous about new groups of students. I was already missing my kiddos from the fall.
As usual, the first few days have been hard. Mostly because they have been awkward. I’m a lively teacher. I make a lot of jokes, but they’re usually hidden gems (in my head, at least) that are buried in whatever I’m saying. As the year goes on, more and more kids seem to catch on, but during the first few days it’s radio silence. Crickets, if you will. Add the wearisome looks and uncomfortable interactions to the weirdness of new classes. AWKWARD.
So, I was feeling out of sorts. I missed my “old” kids, and couldn’t wait to get used to the newbies.
But in my English classes it was a completely different situation. I was myself and the kids were comfortable. They even said “you are so happy today” and I replied that I’d been stiff and awkward all day and finally felt comfortable. I was so grateful for the relationships that have been cultivated (see what I did there?) in my English classes. I have fun with my Pre IB 9 kids and my English 11 students. They know me. They get me. Or at least they pretend to, and, really, what more can I ask for? I’m ready to skip to that point with my new kids but I know I need to go to the process of earning their trust and respect. It’s just so much more fun once you get there.
This just reminded me of the importance of creating those relationships. I’ve always known they are important, but because I’ve never had to restart the process halfway throughout the year, I’ve never really thought about the process and the time needed.
Another reminder of these relationships I received this week: visits from old students. I had some graduates stop by to visit, which was a blast, and even some of my Public Speaking students came by to say they missed me and they want to take my class again. Awww, you know we love that as teachers (even though it’s really just because they don’t want to study for the ACT all semester…). 🙂
I’m so thankful for Dave’s blog post that sparked the realization of everything I have to be grateful for (at school and at home). So, this week I’m grateful for relationships and I want to continue to keep my #onelittleword in mind to cultivate strong relationships with my new students.