For the last two years my classroom has been full of innovation, a wide variety of technology, and 21st century ideas. I brought new, exciting tools and ideas into my classroom. My students and I twisted and tweeked and hacked the heck out of them to meet their needs and empower their awesome. I was constantly filled with inspiration, ideas and new, incredible ways to think about learning and technology. These experiences brought me joy, pride and allowed me to connect with others in amazing ways through my writing, my presenting and on social media.
This year is not those years.
I have shared here before that this year is a very challenging year. To be completely honest, it is collectively the most challenging group of students I have worked with in fifteen years. While my team at school, my administration and my teaching assistants are absolutely amazing, supportive…just plain old the best a teacher could ask to work with, I find that having a classroom of students with significant learning weaknesses combined with significant social, emotional and/or behavioral weaknesses makes for a very lonely year in this space…on this blog, on twitter, on facebook…in the world of sharing.
How do you share how many warnings I gave out today because my students needed to test limits or couldn’t control their behavior and need tons of additional structure?
How do I share that two of my students needed think times today?
How do I share that my focus had to shift from teaching academics to teaching emotional regulation to 4 out of my 7 students because if they aren’t regulated they aren’t available and if they are not available, no learning can happen?
How do I share that each period today between 1-4 of my students got a tardy and three of them got hallway violations?
How do I share that I am doing everything I can to provide them with an environment that enables them to have success and be successful but sometimes kids are teenagers, they make choices and disabilities win?
How do I share that I cried today because I see so much in them and their potential but they don’t believe what I see and don’t see it in themselves yet?
This is a lonely place.
It is not the cheers and yeahs and this is fantastics and the can you believe this and the oh my words this is awesomes. Those cheers, yeahs, fantastics, awesomeness others share… I love them. I love reading the posts, words and tweets other educators share about their great moments, lessons and experiences they are having. Instead, it is lonely. It is lonely when your classroom can’t share those same things.
The words of a friend nagged at me. Earlier this month, I had told him about my year so far and what I was going through.
“You are going to learn from this experience,” he said. “Something great is going to come from this,” he smiled. “Your journey, this story, is going to have meaning to others”.
His words yelled at me in my head.
“He’s wrong,” I yelled back. “He doesn’t know what the heck he is talking about,” I screamed.
Then I stopped and I took a deep breath. I remembered the passion I have for teaching, the love I have for my classroom, the love I have for my job and for being a teacher. I reminded myself of my strengths, my student’s strengths and of their needs.
Then it hit me.
It is up to me to reflect, to find and to discover the best in each day…no matter what kind of day it was. It is up to me to record and shout for all to hear that yes, this year is challenging, yes this year is tough, yes this year has really, really hard moments (full days even), but intertwined in each day, somewhere in there, there is the best. There is a moment that is there. There is a moment that is waiting to be discovered. There is a moment that waiting for me to find and waitin
g to fill me up.
So starting today until the end of the school year I will be sharing #TheBestPartOfMyDay each and every school day. I will find the best part in each day. I will find it and share it out for others to see. I will prove that even during the really tough days there is the best in everyday.
Waiting to be discovered.
Waiting for others to learn from.
Waiting for others to find value in.
Waiting for others to find and see and know that we are never alone!