I care so much. The outbursts, the disrespect, the defiance, the indifference ... I take it personally. Over and over, I'm advised otherwise but I can't help it. I spend my drives home wondering how I can fix myself so I DON'T take it personal. So I CAN keep up the fight for these kids, and this profession. But I also feel like a failure for even admitting that these days (and weeks, and months) have been so hard. I think, "you need to be positive and be a role model for others who are struggling too." But some days, it's just so hard.
When I'm away from the library, to-do's flood my conscientiousness... All the things I didn't have time for in the chaotic hours I'm in the school building: Following up with an email. Finishing my post-observation notes. Checking in with my mentee. Look into titles for next year's school-wide read. Make book swap boxes to drop at the middle and high school. Drop a book in a courier to another district. Check in with that library student who wanted help with a genrefying project.
Then there's the personal tasks: Mail a birthday card. Stop and see that friend that has fallen to the wayside. Clean the house before my parents visit the next 10 days. Stop by the grocery store. Finish my taxes.
I feel swamped. And I know there's more to add to the list coming my way tomorrow, but the students will be in front of me and that's where all my attention will go. Teaching lessons, coaching through issues, encouraging them to try new genres, disciplining those who toe the line, listening to stories, answering questions, (hearing "Mrs. Holloman..." 100x an hour!), pulling materials, straightening up before the next class...
The student must always come first.
As I'm struggling with this tipping point, I reach out to the words of educators who inspire me, (as well as other blogs) and have proved time and time again that we all feel this way, its ok, and I will bounce back.
And I'll end on this reflection: What if your smile, your patient ear, your encouragement, advice, recommendation, hug, or simple presence is the only brush of affection that student felt today? I want to believe that's enough to keep me going.