Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My First Slump

Soooo..... I think I've actually hit my first "slump." I knew it was coming. In fact I felt it coming.

Let me explain...

At the beginning of the school year my mentors told me that the same feelings I had at the beginning of the school year would soon fade away because most of the adrenalin would wear off and reality would set in. But after a few more weeks I would get my momentum back. I believed them, but I didn't want to believe them because I was determined to be different from everyone else. Although I am not exempt from the realities of the classroom- especially urban ed- I still wanted to be that consistent adult in my students' lives that didn't give in to emotion.

Ever since fall break I've really been struggling to maintain a balance. I felt my enthusiasm and drive begin to dwindle down and I couldn't understand why. The more I reflect the more I see how this happens. Long story short, I'm TIRED. I see so many things that cause me to overthink and worry for my students- I just want to be so much to them. I want them to succeed so bad. I want them to rise above. I want them to grow and I want them to be the best they can be. I'm also concerned about meeting expectations and reaching goals that I just feel burnt out! I don't sleep during the week. I'm doing good to get a few hours a night. I toss and turn thinking about the simplest of things like a bell ringer or a transitioning technique and how I'm going to play it out for all of my students. I suppose even 5 cups of coffee in the morning can't sustain this.

There are a few highlighted lessons I've learned in the midst of this slump.

LESSON #1: Slacking on the grading scale may make you the popular teacher... but it WON"T prepare your students for success. Sometimes I worry about being fair and "nice." I want all of my students to get an A, but the truth is, not every student will put in the effort it takes to receive an A. Sticking to my high expectations is key and it will only help my students in the end.

LESSON #2: Disciplining doesn't make you mean just as ignoring bad behavior doesn't make you nice. I have a handful of students who don't appreciate the culture of the classroom and try to upset the atmosphere we have worked hard to create. But I've learned that ignorning those behavior issues, even the smallest of them, does NOT promote a healthy classroom.

Overall I'm learning day by day to let go and let God.  As a believer in Christ I have to daily come to center in Him to find center in myself. This is something that I need to learn all over again for this career. I'm learning to place my students, every single one with every single need, in His hands. That is when I become what they need because His wisdom, understanding and peace is ruler over my wacky emotions and fears. For this I am so thankful and blessed.

Pray for me as I pray for you!

I'm tired... but I'm still in the game!


  1. This is a GREAT reflection (even though not required or official). I have a couple thoughts and hope you don't mind me sharing.

    Off the record? In my book F-A-I-R is a four letter word. I challenge you to change the word "fair" to "unique." How we can equally distribute resources if student needs are so diverse?

    Lesson 1: Regarding "effort" - this is REALLY a tough one. EFFORT does not equal ACHIEVEMENT. Effort has a direct impact on it, but not all those who put forth best effort will achieve highest. So what do we do about this in order to realistically prepare scholars for the next level, and ultimately the real world?

    Lesson 2: Teaching is really a CALLING. It is. These days it has been called the greatest social justice issue of our time. Discipline with love (and I don't mean "fluffyness" here). Ignoring poor behavior is not love for any of the scholars in your class. Take care of the little things in this area and the big things will take care of themselves.

    I know all this is vague but I trust you will be able to read, digest, process, evaluate and use what's relevant for you.

    Lauren, I love visiting your class and perceive you to be a very intelligent, caring, faith-filled, hard-working teacher. I can't think of anyone who works harder than our best teachers - and likewise can't think of a better calling that will change our world (with the exception of parenthood). Thank you for the work you're doing. I appreciate you!

  2. Wow... I love receiving your feedback. It's so profound and it gives me plenty to chew on until our next meeting. Thank you for investing in me and understanding.