my day job part 2

Yesterday a student approached my desk to ask about her grade.
This particular student isn’t one I really notice. She is relatively quiet. Makes average grades. Less than stellar social skills. This is the kind of student that I run into a few years from now and think, they look familiar…but can’t place them…..or remember their name or much about them. Forgetable.
Until yesterday.
No, there is not some sob story that endeared her to my heart.
No, we didn’t have a “moment” where we bonded and I suddenly realized she is a lot like me.
No, she didn’t thank me for teaching her the laws of physics and making her life better.
Instead, her awkward social skills pointed out something about me that I did not want to hear.
And was so right on.

She stood at my computer and asked me if I liked my job.
Kids do this all the time. Usually because other kids in the class are driving them crazy and they don’t know how I can stand it. Or sometimes because they want to be a teacher too. I assumed this was her reasoning…
And I said, “Yes”.
And I do. I love my job. Most days.
She kept standing their awkwardly and finally said,
“oh, well most days it seems like you are just trying to get through it as fast as you can”
“like you just want to get the lesson over with”
I fumbled through a response saying something about how I just want to give them time to work, or want them to have as much time in the lab as possible.
But. She. Was. Right.
At least in her class.
It is my least favorite period. And this is finals week, which means we are all so done and burned out and desperately in need of a break.
I don’t think anyone in the class before hers or after hers would have the same observations….but that doesn’t matter. I show up with donuts and funny stories to the class before hers and ask kids what they want to do and where they want to go to college. And in the class after we talk about music and laugh a lot. But in hers we take notes, do labs and get started on homework. With probably a few stern warnings thrown in.
This girl saw right through me. She could tell that in her block I just want to get through the lesson so they can do their stuff and I can do mine. No wonder they don’t get excited about the material. Because I don’t.
So what if they are the class that hot glues lab stools to the floor, and gets bad reports from subs and cheats like crazy on quizzes and tests. Maybe if I loved them a little, hot glue and all, we would all be a little happier.
Also, in my defense I am a little distracted. Tess doesn’t sleep well. At all. Which makes my insides not work right. And now I have it in my heart that this is what I really want to do. Write. But I am not there yet. I still have 150 kids everyday expecting more out of me than me wanting to be somewhere else. Even if I only slept 4 hours last night. Even if I secretly dream of being a real writer.
I need to be here.
Because a 16 year old can tell when you aren’t.
And she will call you on it.


nachogy said...

They see right through us, don't they? This job keeps you honest. I think that's good.

I'm the same way. I think kids in different blocks have totally different experiences in my classroom. I do.

Jennifer Roberts

Margie said...

Great piece, Michelle. I noticed Elizabeth can see right through me, too, sometimes. She said something a few days ago about me thinking "kids are a bother." (And she was asking after Wayne and I had thought we might have a really, really bad potential-fire situation with some electrical problems we were having and she kept offering up 5-year-old suggestions to fix it. But even so...)Ouch.

Anonymous said...

on behalf of high calling blogs, i would like to welcome you as a member.

i hope that you will come, connect and feel a part of the group. there are a lot of fine people involved and some very interesting things to check out.

here is a link that gives a few answers to questions, with a link to ask questions and relate suggestions.

Love to you.

Sam said...

That's a good story. It's real, it happens to many including me. Thanks for sharing.