Teacher Tantrum

Slice 8

“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. 

Ugh.

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. 

8 thoughts on “Teacher Tantrum

  1. Oh, I can so relate to this. Let’s just say, this year has given me the opportunity to model many things for my students: how to turn on a dime when it’s the last thing we want to do, how to let go of a disappointing outcome, how to apologize for saying things I didn’t mean to say. We talk a lot about what it means to be human. It sounds like you have a fantastic relationship with your students and that they love you very much. Be kind to yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eddie, your slice is real life. Classrooms can sometimes be dysfunctional. I enjoyed the simile, “…like I was teaching AP Chinese to three year olds awakened 5 minutes into their afternoon nap time REM sleep.” Some of my favorite endings in books and in writing are those that leave hope, and yours did. Kids have a way to do that, esp. when you can see them smile behind the mask.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Quitting your job? I should hope not! Those kids need you, and so does this world. And yes. I’ve had days/weeks/phases like this, and boy, is it hard. (I may or may not have looked up possible retirement dates at one point). Glad you were able to pull through today, hoping your next days look up a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I laughed so much at this — “It was literally like I was teaching AP Chinese to three year olds awakened 5 minutes into their afternoon nap time REM sleep. ” Sometimes are SO MUCH THIS! However, I am glad for moments of redemption that are NOT. I’m glad the day turned around for you and that you’re not quitting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hahahaha, yeah we all think that and also about going entirely off-grid. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar; Move away from them slowly and don’t turn your back or they’ll try and drag you into their web of bullshit!

    That aside this post is great. Reminds me of one I read last where the teacher talked about a read aloud they did in class, and the main character doesn’t get something they needed so they were “cross & resentful” the rest of the day. Which she turned out to feel a week later while in class and her lesson wasn’t going well. I understood it to be more than just “angry” as one just can’t help but pull others down with them then. In your case, just the mere punishment of not playing an outside game with them was that resentment and they felt it! I love you turned it around at the end though. Gotta give you props for that 🙂

    And the line about teaching AP Chinese to 3 yr olds a few minutes into a nap. That’s something intense right there!

    Liked by 1 person

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