…or Why You Should Keep A Journal:
Today was the first day back to school, and all in all it was a good day. Nothing real groundbreaking happened, for good or ill. So why, when the final bell rang at 3:10, did I feel so lousy? Why the hopelessness? Why the frustration?
I have nothing to grade (right now..135 essays will roll in on Thursday); I’m caught up on reading (kind of…still have to read Kite Runner and Black Boy); I’m planned through the next two weeks (except for the test I have to write and the copies I need to run). Yet I drove home wanting to “quit my job and move to Florida.” My sister always tells me to do that when I’m having a bad day.
I came home and watched some of Oprah, and had a little something to eat, and then I pulled out my teacher journal. This journal has entries from my first six years of teaching high school, and I thought maybe I would find something there to help me feel better. Here is what I found:
Sept. 5, 2000: “I can’t do this anymore.”
Nov. 7, 2001: “Bad teacher day. I feel like I’m not even close to making these kids understand how to write.”
Jan. 22, 2003: “Five good things about teaching. 1. Get to play piano w/ Ellen.” (2-5 are blank)
Sept. 29. 2004: “Okay day, but I left school feeling so overwhelmed and inadequate.”
March 16, 2005: “This place has become a vacuum of joy.”
Of course there were positive things written; little anecdotes here and there about funny or intelligent things my students said, or how I was finally getting the hang of the curriculum. And what my friend Dave told me the first year I taught at West, in 2002, that I needed to give it four years before gaining a true sense of ownership over what I teach.
Today wasn’t a bad day, and while I left the building feeling overwhelmed, inadequate, and overall disappointed, I came home and read about how I’d been there before. And I read about how it got better. And I’m nothing if not consistent, so even American Lit will get better. And tomorrow will probably be even a little bit better as well.
5 thoughts on “So You Had A Bad Day….”
“This place has become a vacuum of joy”….oh my>>Similarly, I often find myself, when frustrated at work, muttering “I quit” just under my breath. (That’ll show’em Mike)>>I’ve started and quickly stopped several “pen to paper” journals over the years…..my very under the radar blog seems to have taken over a traditional journals role for me.
yesterday one of the facebook friends asked the masses if anyone had a good day. apparently bad days were all the rage yesterday. here in ut i think snow was the main agitator. as for me – i wound up with a back ache by the time i got home – the number one indicator that i’m suffering undue stress. i better schedule a massage ASAP.
Oh so sorry it was a bad day! And while moving near your sister would be lovely, I never recommend moving to Florida – unless I just don’t like someone. You’ll love Kite Runner though – the movie stays close to the book too. I hope today was better!
If tomorrow isn’t better, I say stick with the “quit your job and move to Florida” plan.>>But I’m selfish. Your room is ready when you are 🙂
Mike–glad to know other professions get frustrating too.>>Sarah–one of the New Year’s decisions was to schedule a massage once a month. Thanks for the reminder!>>Deb–thanks for the Kite Runner endorsement…it is getting good!>>Deanne–okay. I’ll be there tomorrow.