It was a day of frustrations. By the time I left work, I felt like I had been pummeled from all directions.
The morning had started with a bit of a bump. My husband took offense at something I said in jest, and rather than telling me that, he turned his back and walked away. Not exactly what I needed when already dealing with feelings of rejection. After writing my heart out each day for the last two weeks and posting it for the world to see, I clearly wasn't making connections. On a good day, I was lucky to get one or two comments. My frustration stemmed from more than what I interpreted as daily affirmation that my writing was lacking. It was further evidence that I simply couldn't connect with other human beings. I tried to tell myself that I didn't care and thought up reasons why people might read my blog and not have anything to say. Sometimes I was successful in believing it. This wasn't one of those days.
It would have been nice to find solace at work, but that wasn't about to happen. Maybe it was the rain that brought out the worst in my students. Maybe it was the close proximity to Spring Break. Maybe it was a combination of the two. I couldn't be sure, but whatever it was, it was a struggle to maintain control all day. I finally got to the point yesterday that I started my lessons when it was time, whether they were listening or not. It actually worked for the most part. Until we got to the end of the day, that is. By then I was exhausted and I had had it.
When I had been prepping for my social studies lesson earlier in the day, I had come across some charts we had made the first week of school, listing behaviors that showed how we show respect, solve problems, and make good decisions. We spent the last 15 minutes of the day going over those lists. I pointed out all the ones they didn't follow (there were many) and how I was concerned that it was their behavior, not their intelligence, that was getting in the way of their success. They were quiet for the most part and seemed to be taking it all in. One of my more troublesome girls was vocal in her agreement that we should make decisions that would add positivity to the class and not negativity. So, of course, when we were cleaning up and getting ready to go home, it was her voice I heard shout out, "Ew, and I touched it," before she ran over to the hand sanitizer. Upon questioning the kids at her table group, my suspicions were confirmed. What she had touched was another boy's white board. I pulled her aside to talk to her about it, but all she could talk about was why she was in trouble and not another girl who had done it, too. I tried to explain she wasn't in trouble, but she wasn't hearing it. Didn't want to hear it. When the dismissal bell rang, she left in a huff.
In the silence of the classroom, I questioned for the millionth time what I could do, what I clearly wasn't doing, that was going to make a difference in the lives of these children. How could I convince them to be nice to one another? They are only third graders, for goodness sake. Certainly, it can't be too late. But once again, I felt helpless, unsure of what more I could do.
It was a day of frustrations, indeed, a day that made me want to give up.
And yet. . .
Here I am, up at 4:45 a.m., getting ready to face a new day. My husband and I are still talking and the tension of yesterday will slowly fade away. I will walk into school this morning and greet my class with the same warm greeting and optimism I do every day. In a few moments, I will hit the publish button and send yet another piece of my writing, another piece of me, out into the world.
Brave or foolish? Only time will tell.