This afternoon, in my head, I went from being the best teacher in the world to the worst in forty minutes. At least when I do something, it’s a full commitment with no half measures.
I love teaching Year 7. I love being their introduction to high school English. I love being their favourite teacher. And after my lesson with my new Year 7 class today I was in love and feeling infallible.
I carried that feeling all through break.
And then I had my Year 12 class.
And my high disappeared. Replaced with deep frustration and no answers. Too many of them do not know their stuff and are reluctant (uninspired) to change that.
I stayed frustrated. My colleagues felt just as frustrated. I had afternoon tea with a friend and then went for a necessary massage (my back bore the stress and stopped working).
During one of the best massages of my life, I reflected. Why did I feel so frustrated?
Yes, I care about my kids and their results. But there was more to it. And yes, you’re right. Their lack of engagement, I feel, is a reflection of my inability to inspire them. And that connects to my feelings of vulnerability – maybe I’m a sham and these kids have worked it out. And when my identity is closely associated with being a great teacher, where does that leave me?
Yep, self centered and self serving.
But, I do need to inspire them and frustration does not help me to achieve that. Frustration makes me want to quit, want to be disengaged. And I don’t want that.
I need to find the key to unlock the potential in my beautiful kids.