I just remembered something about tomorrow.
I worked for a summer at IBM. The days passed quickly and enjoyably. I was so engaged by the work (designing a testing protocol for computer casings) that hours would pass by unnoticed. And then on the way out of the building each night, I would have a very distinct thought: Hmmm. I don’t care if this building blows up tonight. Wouldn’t bother me at all.
When I was teaching, my experience was almost exactly the opposite. The days would often drag. Some days were just awful, days where I felt like I taught nothing. I would often stand outside my classroom, dreading the thought of going in. I would psych myself up by telling myself, “Pretend it’s your last class. You’re never going to teach again and you need to make this the best class you’ve ever taught!” And it would often work. But by the end of the day, I was exhausted. Figuring out how to teach a sixteen year old how to multiply and helping a young woman find a safe place to sleep and designing a project that would both teach and evaluate at the same time – all in the same day. It was exhausting.
But every day that I left the building, no matter how awful it was or how crappy a job I thought I did, I couldn’t wait to get back to try it again. I left with the thoughts: What can I do better tomorrow? Or The way he is thinking about subtraction may just help us with positive and negative numbers. And I love them.
That was it. Engineering was often fun and engrossing, but I never loved it. My students were often not fun and much of the job was tedious. But I loved my students and I loved teaching. And I wanted to go back to figure out how to do it better so that they would be better prepared for the world.
Which explains, I think, why I woke up excited this morning. It explains why I remembered my summer at IBM as I was pouring coffee. I love my boys. And I wanted to go back and try it again. What can I change to make it better? For starters, we are going to do fewer activities. Transitions are not our forte’.
How did it go?
This is where I want to tell you how much better it was. But that’s not true. They were more defiant than yesterday, and I was angrier. Zach cried three times. Ezra cried once. I spent the last two hours of the morning with a knot in my throat from holding back the tears I wanted to cry.
But I’ve got a few ideas for tomorrow…