Friday, March 17, 2017

Self-Care for Teachers: Reflect on the Good Things That Happened This Week

I’m tired. We’ve got one more week in third quarter, and everyone’s tired. The students are tired. The administration is tired. The teachers are tired. I suppose even the construction workers finishing the road that’s closed off our back entrance for the past five months are tired, but maybe thats just transference. So instead of reflecting on some big challenge or accomplishment in my classroom this week, I decided it’s time for some self-care: I’m going to collect some happy-teaching moments from my week. Let’s see…there was… 

The student who had to pop into my room before school, even though she didn’t have my class until later in the day, just to let me know how excited she was about Kite Runner: “I’m only about 60 pages in, but already it almost made me cry! It’s so good!”

The student who noticed Hamilton: The Revolution was back on the shelf the day after it was returned, and walked out clutching it with her eyes shining.

The students who borrowed off my desk the original language text of the Haruki Murakami novel, After Dark, we’re reading in class. One was to satisfy his curiosity about what exactly it is that is translated into English as “fish cake.” The other was to prove to his group-mates that a particular metaphorical passage made more sense in Japanese than in English. 

The student who returned Half a King with the pronouncement that it was really good and had totally surprised her at the end. (Her two worst indictments of a fantasy: predictable and bad ending. So this was high praise. I may have to get the next two books in the trilogy.)

The student who, when I was collecting unfamiliar words for our vocabulary list from the piece of writing under discussion, said, “Oh, can we please add idioms to the list, too?” (Students had asked about phrases like “can’t hold a candle to” and “no skin off my nose.”) I gave her a dubious look—is this looking for an easy way out?—and was about to turn her down, but she pleaded, “We might really use those!”

The student who, when I assigned a five-minute quick-write, said, “Is this where we’re supposed to use a dash like we did after yesterday’s write?” 

I’m in my happy-teaching space when a student loves a book; when students ask each other questions about the text in a small group discussion and go to the text to find answers; when students are curious about words, make life connections, and build on past learning about content or reading or writing. 

When are you in your happy-teaching space, and when did that happen this week? Try making your own list, and see if you aren’t feeling a little better.

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