Dear Students from Today, January 14, 2013,
I think it’s safe to say I’ve had a terrible week. Have you ever just had one of those days where you can’t seem to go 15 minutes without messing something up? For example, you wake up late, then can’t find your keys, then burn yourself on a burner you accidentally left on the entire night, then step on the tail of one of the feral cats that stalks your apartment complex, then spill coffee on yourself on the way to your car? (That was this morning, by the way.) Nothing overly tragic or terrible, but the fact that it’s in series is just really, REALLY discouraging? I’ve had a week of it. For example:
-Last Tuesday, I locked myself out of my car. In the rain. Then the locksmith was an hour late and sassy, and, depressingly, I do not have the ability to write up other grown-ups. And I knew I had to be nice to him because I couldn’t wait any longer for a different person to open my car. And then I paid him $50 for his attitude and his little car-opening contraption that took 15 seconds, and it felt like one of the greatest defeats of my life.
-I have a late fee for a bill I wasn’t able to pay because I registered for the service with my email address as gNail.com and it never registered to me that I wasn’t receiving email alerts for that bill. G-nail.
-My apartment fell apart. And there are baby roaches everywhere. I don’t want to talk about it.
-I had to be out for two days of the first week back (last week) because of mandatory training for teachers in schools who don’t meet AYP like ours. Not only was I mad about being out of the classroom for that long, but all 16 hours of it were things I already have memorized/posters of/could have done a presentation on myself. You are all keenly aware of how much I hate my time being wasted.
-Last night, I tried to make macaroni and cheese in advance for thing I had to go to tonight, and first burned it, then accidentally shaved part of a good chunk of a plastic ball into my pile of grated cheese (don’t ask how). Also, the recipe said “Easy Mac and Cheese” and it took me like two hours! That is not easy. Then, I said to myself, “I will open this beer now and drink some of it, and that will take away some of the sting.” And then the beer exploded everywhere. (That is the second time that has happened this week.)
And THEN, after the morning I shared with you at the beginning of this letter, I stumble into school this morning to discover that my computer station, projector, and printer are all down. Not working. Not even a little bit. Nothing. As you’d better remember (or I’ll find you), the lesson was on how to write an expository essay and required the use of my computer and definitely my document camera/projector. As you probably won’t remember, you have a serious district test over this information in about three days, so it’s not the type of thing I could put off until later. Only a few minutes before class started, I put my head down on my desk and just sat there. I was too tired to cry or to even dream that the day might get better.
But it did. Every single period today, I started off by simply saying that my computer and projector were down, and that I would need you to be the precious, understanding little munchkins that you are because of the importance of today’s lesson. And every single period, you shocked me. You LISTENED to a lecture on how to write an expository essay for FORTY-FIVE MINUTES without goofing off, falling asleep (or maybe some of you did with your eyes open), participated when I asked you to, and on top of everything, were just extraordinarily sweet to me.
It is days like today, after weeks like this week, where I am proud to be a teacher. Specifically YOUR teacher. If you ever dare to let yourself feel like you are useless, or that nobody notices you, or that you haven’t absolutely made a difference, I want you to know that you saved me today. All of you made that choice (because behavior is absolutely a choice), and it reminded me how it feels to be completely surprised by joy.
I love the crap out of you.