So let me just start by saying how much I appreciate the prompt from the people at Explore MTBoS. Thank you. Because at the time of year when I get down on myself for being a crummy teacher, for feeling run down, for second-guessing decisions, it’s easy to get locked in a negative mindset. Yet here I am surrounded by people who want me to succeed, to make myself better, to make the teaching community more connected, and they’re asking me to ‘stop and smell the roses.’ So, I will. I will take the time to recognize how lucky I am, and I will document a few things that are really good about what I get to do for my job. Here goes…
First, I realize that the people that I get to work with every day, the colleagues in my office, are just so supportive and make my job more interesting, more fun, and more rewarding. They challenge me intellectually, they support me emotionally, they help me with teaching triangles, making travel plans, raising my kids, navigating parent interactions, learn about new board games, understand politics, and learn school gossip. I appreciate every single one of them, and I am truly lucky to have them there for me.
Also, I realize that I teach some really special students. In this past week, a number of small things happened that were good… In the middle of a lesson that was bombing, I see a kid carefully explaining to another how to work with square roots…and they’re really focused trying to teach and learn. I have a kid who has been slacking on his homework and has been sort of disengaged in class, but he comes for extra help, and his face lights up when he solves a tough problem — he actually smiles while doing math. I have a student who struggles to understand the logical conclusions of hypothesis testing, but doesn’t quit thinking about it; she wrestles with the concept, and then stays after class to discuss it further. I see kids choosing to spend their free time during the day solving problems in Math Club or participating in the math contests we offer. I have kids thank me at the end of class and wish me a good weekend.
I don’t want to seem too sappy (probably too late), but taking this time to appreciate some of these good things has already brightened my spirits to some degree. I hope to focus on the good more frequently, and try to make it more of a habit. I hope anyone reading this will try to do the same!