I have some very challenging classes this year.
I teach remedial algebra 1 to high school students that either hate math (or school in general), have struggled in math (or school) in the past, have learning disabilities, or behavior problems. In short, this is a tough crowd with some pretty intense baggage. Sometimes they are hard to love.
Today was one of those days where I question what I am doing and why I am doing it. I am struggling to like going to work everyday.
I have a foreign exchange student that acts as my teacher’s assistant one hour a day and is in one of my math classes. She is very smart but struggled with the language barrier in the advanced math classes. Anyway, she pulled me to the side today and told me that she admires me and that she could never do my job because she would want to hit these kids. She also told me that in Italy kids don’t disrespect teachers and get away with it. I love her and appreciated her perspective.
It has been rough in all of my classes but one class in particular seems to be toxic. Attitudes are awful. Language is unacceptable. Effort is dismal. I am not sure what to do about it. Today was one of the lows of my teaching career. I know I need to snap out of it and get back to being positive and loving my students and my job.
So tonight I decided to write all of the students in my toughest class a note telling them that I appreciate them and thanking them for something positive they have contributed to the class. I got this idea from Bubba’s second grade teacher. She wrote him a nice note and he was on cloud nine. Maybe I can regain my student’s trust and rebuild relationships by letting them know I value them. It has been really hard for me but the more I write, the easier they get.
We will see how it goes tomorrow when I hand them out. I am sure a few will make fun of me and will be big jerks but I can imagine the glow of a few of them and it will be worth it. I hope.
What do you do snap out of a funk at work?