Fall Semester, 2015.

It’s 7:15 p.m. and I’m sitting in my classroom, waiting for a point in the choir concert where I’ll walk out on stage and play two hands of a four-hand accompaniment. I enjoy playing the piano for choir concerts–I’m forced to practice music I wouldn’t normally play so my skills stay sharp. Ish.

I’m mostly caught up with work. I could use this time to get ahead, but this poor blog has been neglected this semester, so I’m using the time to write and reflect on the past 17 weeks.

It’s my nature sometimes to get wrapped up in regrets. I think about the students I lost my temper with, or the assignments I should’ve graded quicker, or the number of times I just forgot to remind myself what the essential questions were for the four classes I teach.

I think about the plans I had that never happened because of assemblies or absences or apathy. I think about all the times I could’ve (and probably should’ve) taught differently or changed an assignment or even a seating chart to better fit a class’s personality or needs.

I think about deviating from my plans of regular blogging with my journalistic writing class, or Photography Friday with my photojournalism class–in the name of “staying on track,” of course.

When I became a teacher 15 years ago, I didn’t anticipate a constant nagging feeling that I should be doing everything better. I figured after two or three years, I would know what I’m doing and do it well and have peaceful eight-hour-a-night sleeps.

I know good things happen in my classroom. Sometimes, those good things have nothing to do with curriculum. And though I’ve been trying to keep up with a 180 Days of Happy project on Instagram, I am struggling to remember those good things from the past 17 weeks. Collateral damage from the weight of regrets.

The semester ends next week and as someone who teaches semester classes, that means I get to start anew in January. So once again, I’m crafting visions of what my classroom will look like, of what kind of teacher I will be with this new group of students.

And maybe one way I can be better is to accept that things will not always go as planned in my classroom. Rather than see them as regrets, see them as events–learning events, even–and move on.

But for now, it’s almost show time. No time for regrets right now.

A Quarter Report

First quarter ends in nine days, and I haven’t blogged once. That is a problem. I’ve blogged over at my personal blog occasionally, but this quarter has me on the ropes. I’m facing challenges I’ve never faced before, and they are testing my abilities.

Consequently, writing falls to the wayside, even though writing is often the best way to process a struggle.

I’ve been taking a photo on Instagram every day, using the hashtag #180DaysofHappy, to document at least one good thing about my school day. It’s helped me find the good in my classrooms–because even on my worst days (or what I think are my worst days), there’s something good to be found.

Some of the good that I’ve found this first quarter?

A couple of new reporters who are killing it on newspaper. Some great discussions in my Pop Culture classes. Watching students figure out how to take better photos. Successful live commentary for our football live-stream. Discovering new writing talent in my journalistic writing class.

Some days, I forget to snap a photo of something that really makes me happy, and I’m scrambling at the end of the day to figure out what might take its place. But I’m trying, and for the most part, succeeding, and it reminds me that there is so much good going on in my classroom, if I just stop long enough to notice it.

Twitter Tuesday

Twitter Tuesday will actually happen tomorrow–I plan on pulling an all-nighter to finish grading research projects. 

That 60 hour work week ain’t gonna happen this week…I suppose that’s going to be the norm for the week before the quarter ends.

Hope to resurface soon…