“I’m quitting my job”
I said this. Out loud. In front of the kids today. Before lunch even started.
It was one of those days. Just yesterday I sliced about how I wasn’t quitting so it didn’t matter what new plans they threw in front of us on any given day during this new era of education. But then this morning happened.
We think this hyperbolically all the time (right?) but I was so frustrated I actually let it out. It was literally like I was teaching AP Chinese to three year olds awakened 5 minutes into their afternoon nap time REM sleep.
I was funny. I was patient. I was calm. I gave so many examples and visuals. Brain breaks. Let them sit on their desks. I begged and pleaded.
They were not having it today and, for a minute, it broke me.
I threatened the air we shared (through my mask of course) that I would be seeking a new career based on the morning we had and I “punished” the kids by not playing the kickball-type game we invented for social distance outdoor fun. So basically I pouted.
The sun was finally out and I could tell they were bummed I wasn’t in my spot in the circle for the game. As the minutes waned toward lunchtime I grabbed a football and told a kid to “go deep”. I connected with him just past the basketball hoop.
Wordlessly, a final 8 minutes-to-go sort of football game emerged with me throwing footballs to all the kids. The kinds of smiles you can see through masks returned slowly. And I barely ate my lunch as I guided my little, sometimes dysfunctional, classroom family away from the dreadful morning that was and into the hope that beckoned from the afternoon.
I told them we could all choose to have a better second half than the first. I told them all but I was talking to me. And somehow, despite my failure to keep composed as their leader, I told them we could and we did.
This is hard. Sometimes unfathomably so. Still. But no, I’m not quitting.