Tag Archives: reading

When the going gets tough…

The tough get waterproof mascara.

I was very mindful today of my attitude; it used to be that educators avoided the teachers lounge if they didn’t want to be bogged down with woes and complaints, from the classroom temperature to how on earth will I afford retirement. These days, it seems a shadow of uncertainty is lingering in education no matter where you enjoy a Diet Coke.

After a social studies test last Friday, when 9 of my 5th graders incorrectly labeled the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, I needed to give myself a time-out before I could productively address them.

It reminded me just how much my mood impacts 21 students. 21 different, impressionable and developing children. 21 kids, who are trying to figure out where they belong.

Today, an avid reader raised her hand during independent/guided time in the morning. Working on being more supportive, I veered from routine and went to her quickly. She said, “Did you know Malcolm X once lived in Boston?” We discussed her biography choice, and I cautioned her about the mature themes and challenging concepts. Her response, “I understand… But I’m wondering, how did he affect people here in Boston? Especially black people? What was his legacy?”

I was floored. If I wasn’t such a timid kid, I would’ve turned cartwheels that I should’ve learned years ago. Her thinking generated so much enthusiasm, that adults visiting around 3:00 commented that they were so eager to learn. Things may get tough, but there’s mascara to withstand the tears.

I read a comment about why anyone would want to be a teacher today, with evaluations publicized, data-driven cultures, questionable compensation, and so on and so on. Last Friday, I even briefly wondered what I’m doing. But as long as we can inspire something, in someone, the good still outweighs the bad.

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