Saturday, March 08, 2008

If only we could be this good all the time!

I'm not sure I have ever written a week in review post but here it goes. :-)

As weeks go, this one was pretty normal except for my extreme fatigue. It was like I had fallen and couldn't get up. Literally. Every morning it took all of my strength to get out of bed. Jeremy had to nudge me (he is an early riser) many times! I didn't even shower everyday.

On top of this exhaustion I had a busier than normal teaching schedule with almost every single thing I did being teacher directed. As a rule I try and keep a balance between dependent and independent work for my students. But not this week. We did several intense science experiments that required lots of prior knowledge.

This year and next year are also evaluation cycles for me professionally. My principal is required to observe me at agreed upon times but he is also free at anytime to be present in my room. He showed up unannounced on Tuesday morning. The funny thing is that I generally do math first thing in the morning but due to some student paper work that need to get sorted and put into binders I ended up having an impromptu science lesson/review. Just as I was beginning this completely unplanned activity, guess who walks in and takes a seat!

For the most part having people in my room rarely breaks my stride. Overall, I am confident in what I do. But there is always the fear that what you do 90% of the time will get observed during that other 10% and get misconstrued. It is however, intimidating to have the principal waltz into your room. I kept praying that he would not wander over to my desk and see my empty day plan! The cardinal sin of teaching. Thankfully he did not.

My unexpected lesson was on rocks and minerals in the rock cycle. I was explaining to the kids how over breakfast my husband (a forester and expert pit digger) and I were discussing rocks on a beach and how they are a perfect example of an accelerated and visible rock cycle taking place. The lesson ensued for another 15 minutes and as soon as we got started in math, Mr. P up and left.

At first recess I stopped by the staff room for a few minutes and walked past Mr. P's office. He called out after me with "Great lesson this morning." I said thank you as I carried on down the hall. Later the same day after students had been dismissed I walked past his room again. This time he came out of his office! "Angela, that really was a fantastic lesson you gave this morning!" He was visibly excited. "I was really impressed with they way you had the attention of every student in the room. They were all engaged and actively participating in the discussion". At this point the VP sticks her head out of her office and adds, "Yeah, he's been talking your praises all day!"

I must say their words gave me quite a rush. But I had absolutely no idea how to respond. I even felt somewhat embarrassed and could feel the heat rising in my face as they spoke. I think I managed a "Thank you" and scurried away.

The week however ended on a low note. I've been trading off gym classes with another teacher so as to squeeze in a couple of more prep periods. Truth is, I'm not a fan of her class. They test me on every turn and are just difficult in general. If you have never dealt with 8 year olds and think that they are mouldable and eager to please jars to be filled with knowledge... think again. That kind of child seems to be the exception not the rule these days. Make no mistake, we are currently living in a child-driven society and I believe the anthropological effects of this will not be recognized until a few decades from now. Although I have a couple of narcissists in my own classroom we have developed a balanced relationship and strong emotional bonds. They have mostly accepted my role as teacher and no longer challenge me when I say no - thankfully. It is not easy to get those kids who have cart blanche at home to give it up at school and let someone else be the boss. Parents, if you are failing your children in any way, it is in letting them be the parent and you becoming their servant. It is in neither of your best interests.

So my week, a tired and emotionally charged one, scaled the top of the mountain to the bottom of the valley. Last night I was numb. I declined invitations to dinner and listened to some Blue Rodeo, my favourite co-dependent music.

Today is a beautiful day. The sun is shining and there is not a cloud in the sky. Forecast says that it will be as high as +5C. I'm already feeling restored. A little yoga this morning helped and I can breathe once again. And for today, a bit of eye and ear candy for the ladies. :) Namaste.

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