When You Least Expect It…

Today was not my best teaching moment. I allowed a class to really get under my skin with their inability to pay attention, and rather than fight them, I gave in. Or, I should say, I gave up.

At the end of class, I told them that all I want to do for 47 minutes a day is help them become better readers, better writers, and better students. I acknowledged that at this point in the school year, I probably sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher. I explained that for the students wanting to attend college, this semester is the most important semester, the last semester of grades before they start applying to colleges next fall. And I asked them for suggestions as to how we could have a better classroom environment.

I always feel awful after come-to-Jesus talks with classes. All I want to do is teach them, and answer their questions, and try to not come across as a heartless monster.

So when one of those students walked in my room three hours later bearing a card and a gift “from two random students” he said, I was wary. I thought for sure a couple of those class members put together something mean-spirited, something perhaps intended to be funny and hurtful at the same time.

(Why do I always think the worst?)

I opened the card with trepidation, only to read one of the kindest, sweetest notes I’ve ever read. A belated Christmas gift from two students who claim I’m one of the most likable teachers they know, and the coolest Mormon they’ve ever met.

I teared up a little as I read it, because on a day when I felt like most (not all) of what I do was for naught, I held in my hands evidence to the contrary.

I still feel anxious and upset about that class today, but I am grateful for the reminder that every now and then a student or two takes me seriously, and respects me, and gives me the courage to keep fighting the good fight.

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