The Hardest Parts Of Teaching

About Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, at http://jenniferwolfe.net, and grab a free copy of "8 Tips For A Successful School Year" while you're there.

These are the hard parts of teaching:

  • Waking up from a nightmare where you’re out of breath and can’t find your classroom and are teaching in a foreign language to a group of kids who could care less about being there and you wonder, when you wake up, how that part of your fears will not happen today.
  • Waking up before everyone in your house to catch a few moments of absolute quiet and stillness, maybe just enough to center yourself, drink a cup of coffee and write gratitudes in your journal.
These are the hard parts of teaching. Click To Tweet
  • Walking into your classroom, switching on the light, trying to not notice that the floor is dirty/papers are piled up/you have 68 new emails from yesterday and hoping you have enough time to write the date on the board, use the restroom, sort out the materials for your four preps and prepare for the 100+ students who you will greet at the door and attempt to make feel like they matter over the next 8 hours.
  • Digging through your teacher closet at 10:00 a.m. to find a granola bar or crackers or something for the kid – or kids- who came to you saying they are hungry and didn’t eat breakfast and cannot buy anything else at the cafeteria because they are over dawn.
  • Trying to breathe deeply without any of your students noticing because you just heard the most heartbreaking news about cyberbullying/anxiety/suicidal/ocd students – more than one – in your classes.
  • Answering rapid fire questions, making more decisions than a brain surgeon, noticing who is sad, who is off task, who is confused/angry/stressed, while attempting to engage the 34 teenagers in front of you while not tripping over their backpacks and falling into their desks in your overcrowded (and did I mention either insanely hot or freezing cold) classroom. And yes – the Kleenex box (that I brought from home) is on the front table.
  • Feeling lucky to eat your power greens salad and swig some cold coffee from your thermos during your 30 minute “duty-free” lunch period while showing one girl how to write a perfectly formatted MLA works cited page and checking grades for another girl who is ‘certain she turned that assignment in two months ago’ and avoiding the emails from parents/teachers/admin because you have more important projects in front of you – like finishing your lunch and trying to find another pack of something for that kid sitting there with no lunch.
  • Hitting your daily step goal without ever making it outside your classroom.
  • Hearing the bell ring at 3:30 and knowing you have five minutes to breathe/pee/clean up/plan lessons/answer those emails/help a kid looking for a no name paper before attending another meeting to set goals/hear announcements/talk about at risk kids/comfort a parent whose child is depressed-anxious-not attending school-failing-over medicated-under medicated-acting out-not talking-not working-suicidal.
Hitting your daily step goal without ever making it outside your classroom Click To Tweet
  • Coming home after a day of meetings then teaching then meetings then teaching then meetings and knowing you should grade papers/walk the dog/write/read a novel/talk to your family but all you can really do is curl up on the couch next to your dog with a beverage and a bag of chips and binge watch Scandal to help you forget/bury/numb all the emotions you’ve had to hold inside all day.
  • Falling asleep on the couch before your family has finished eating dinner and having your husband/kid/dog wake you up by turning out the light.
  • Waking up just a little earlier than you should in the morning, saving enough time to write while drinking a second cup of coffee and realizing that if you didn’t wake up every day, walk through your classroom door, smile and high five and fist bump and ask them about their new dog/swim meet/karate test/favorite thing they ate over the weekend your life would be drastically, radically, stunningly absent of all the joy and happiness teaching can bring.

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By | 2017-01-04T11:03:33+00:00 January 4th, 2017|From the Front Lines, Middle School, Teacher Burnout|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, at http://jenniferwolfe.net, and grab a free copy of "8 Tips For A Successful School Year" while you're there.

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