Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Box Paradox

It's so interesting how the aspects of teaching that I thought I was looking forward to, are now the aspects of teaching that bring me the most stress.

Case and Point: When I was taking my tour of the school, my co-worker showed me my "box" in the front office. I tried to stifle my excitement over what I was seeing, but I'm sure it was obvious. I've always had these glorified ideas of what it meant to have my own box. During my Student Teaching, my mentor teacher would always inform me enthusiastically, "I'm going to go check my box," She would always return with teachery things that seemed to confirm that she, in fact, was a real teacher and that I, in fact, was not.

Well, I  am a real teacher. A real teacher that is gripped with a heart wrenching fear when I get a spare nano second to go check my box. Every single time I go to that God Forsaken box, I have to add 10 things to my never ending To-Do list. Whether it's a Memo's about meetings I need to attend, Assessments that must be done by the end of the week, folders regarding students that have legal modifications to be implemented into instruction, or an invitation to a Premiere Jewelry Party that I have absolutely NO interest in attending, there is always something. One afternoon I intentionally emptied my box, went promptly to the restroom and sauntered by my box just to get a glimpse of what it looked like empty, and lo and behold....There was a slip of paper so mockingly nestled in my box that I turned around and huffed back to my classroom.

There are other aspects of my job that I thought I was looking forward to as well. Grading and lunch duty are just to name a few. Why I ever thought a mountain of math worksheets and a red pen would bring me happiness is now a complete mystery to me.

And lunch duty...don't even get me started on lunch duty. Picture this: I'm scanning dozens and dozens of noisy kids hoping that none of them choke on the mystery meat they are eating, while simultaneously opening Go-gurt tubes and applesauce. Compete Madness.

On the contrary, my job has brought me joy in ways that I didn't even know to look forward to. Like   when a student brings me a picture they drew from home, or the way they hang on my every word when I tell a  story, I realize that they are looking up to me. When I stand at the door in the morning and welcome my students and their sleepy eyes I know I am a tone setter for their entire day. When I have the opportunity to encourage my kids who feel left out or discouraged, I know I am making a difference.
These moments far outweigh any mountain of grading, impossible applesauce, and yes, even the box.

I am still very happy and continue to look forward to seeing my students every day. I love my job.


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