Could I BE Any More Tired?

Slice 10

We’re running out of Wednesdays.

We go full in person 5 days a week in about 2 weeks. Every Wednesday there are no students in the building. We have our PLC meeting, a Google Meet for SEL, one for read aloud, and then small group work Meets. 

Some Wednesdays are the hardest working days. At least in that you are able to accomplish lots. Lately, not so much. And the days, literally, are numbered, with the return of full in person.

Motivation has been at an all time low. Last night my girlfriend had me watch this movie about a famous teacher (there are those I guess) played by Chandler Bing. The story has more to do with my slice today than the actual script and acting and stuff so I don’t need to talk about those. Teacher movies/shows are usually meant to be inspirational. Or funny with the Cameron Diaz thing or Dennis from Sunny’s show. 

If you haven’t seen it you can guess how it went with the earnest, accomplished small town teacher going to Harlem to teach inner city at-risk youth and in the end they become the smartest kids in the world, against all odds. It was a true story, so, being a teacher it was cool to watch. Hard not to point out all the obvious exposition, like when a principal explains to a veteran teacher when standardized tests do and are for and how they play into public school politics, but cool to watch.

I wonder, though, if it’s like when cops watch Lethal Weapon or people from other fields of work watch almost literal superhero colleagues of theirs be so much better on the silver screen at the same job as you do that they make a movie out of it. Plus, if I did even 10 percent of what Matthew Perry did in the movie I’d be fired so fast. But what he did for those kids was the epitome of what we wish we could. 

So today I filled up my prize chest which is really just one of those 6 drawer plastic dresser things that I think I got from my first year teaching partner. I went to the dollar store and added to the dregs left over from last year’s lucky winners of the weekly/monthly/yearly bribe us to work raffles. I got on my Meet today to tantalize them with little whoopee cushions and smencils, playful little notebooks and fidgety toy stuffs. Busted out the yearly grand prizes added to the dollar store soccer ball left behind last year: waterproof dollar store bluetooth speakers and a sparkly lava lamp contraption. 

It ain’t going to get any kids to go from gangbanging to being tops in the world or whatever like in the movie and I don’t really have that extreme of a swing to go like Chandler did – but that makes it worse. Ugh. If he could do that…

And I could. If I was a once in a lifetime teacher. I also culled together pictures of this year’s 6th grade for our PTO as they put together an end of year picture book for them. We do Junior High in our district starting at 7th grade. Before March I was able, as usual, to get some good shots of my kids who are now in 6th grade. And the Chandler movie was more about making the kids work hard enough to excel at the big standardized test, but just looking back at “normal” times and the fun little SEL activities and group project-based monthly talent shows, and huddle corner reading sessions I was and have always been able to capture? Showed me how chasmically further I am now from being a world famous educator (ha) even than I was just a year ago.

Obviously we don’t do this so they make movies about us. But we do want to star in the movie of their minds when they look back as older people. We have worked harder than ever this year for very little of that kid-driven payback we gobble up when we can get it. There is so much work ahead, as things start to open up. While I have come to dread much of this hybrid teaching/learning process and planning, I very much look forward to doing what I used to do, only working even harder at it because now I appreciate how lucky I was before, to work as hard as I did. 

Knowing me they’d get Ross to play me anyways.

2 thoughts on “Could I BE Any More Tired?

  1. That idea in your concluding paragraph, “ But we do want to star in the movie of their minds when they look back as older people,” is so on point. I wish the best for you and your students. Hard work isa virtue.

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  2. My first thought when I saw your title? “YES! Yes you could be. Don’t jinx anything!!” As for the on-screen persona of the superteacher, I’ve often thought the same thing as you, wondering how folks in law or medicine or law enforcement see their portrayal on screen…

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