You Know You’re a Teacher When…


…some days end in tears.

Yesterday was one of those days.* My 6th grade class had been unusually difficult. Of course, it wasn’t the whole 6th grade class, just a handful of pre-pubescent boys with emptied out plastic pen containers, perfect for shooting spit wads. I was trying to teach the difference between “do” and “does” and they were trying to teach their compañeros how to make weird burping noises while shooting wads of paper.

boys. boys. boys.

• • •

{doesn’t matter what country or language. spit wads and burps are universal }

• • •

I made them stay after class and gave my best “if-you-do-that-again-talk” in my angry (spanish) teacher voice. I signed their agendas. Wrote notes to each of their parents. And watched them leave one by one.

The door closed. And the tears came.

There is something about being a teacher where one bad day can make you feel like every day is a bad day. If you’re a teacher you get this, right?

I believe teaching is a calling. Good teachers are called to be teachers because they have a love for students and a passion to teach. But teaching is a unique profession where you spend hours and weeks with a group of kids, investing  day-by-day for 10 months of the year, sometimes with few tangible results.

I find it’s hard to measure sucess as a teacher.  And maybe this is true for other professions as well. Counselors, pastors, parents and social workers probabaly feel something similar. But that’s why one bad day, one discouraging class, or eight spid-wad-throwing-boys can make you doubt and question  and occasionally cry.

I’ve always said good teaching involves meeting students where they are at, in order to challenge them to get where they could be.

I guess my struggle is how do I meet 6th grade boys where they are at?

suggestions welcome.

have a wonderful weekend!

*note: even though many of you are currently enjoying summer break, in Guatemala our “summer” doesn’t start until October. So in US school-calendar terms we’re in about the equivalent of “March” right now : )

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5 thoughts on “You Know You’re a Teacher When…

  1. Ok. March is just tough whatever level you are teaching! You’re tired, the students are tired, and they are 12 years old. The perfect recipe for a teary end-of-the day. By now you are probably feeling better, but I totally get what you are talking about. We put so much out there as teachers and sometimes it feels like we’re not getting a lot back. I don’t have a solution, just understanding and the assurance that the next day will probably be better.

    Great to hear from you!

  2. I’m sighing a deep sigh with you, Michelle. I’m not a teacher, but I do think being a mom of 3 boys can help me relate to your day ending in tears. My oldest is almost 12 and sometimes I don’t know where my child went. Other days (or moments), he’s right there with me. I do think that girls are more dramatic and catty at this age, but boys? They’re testing the waters and can be very, very naughty and disrespectful. Sigh. I’m dreaming about summer too… Keep up your good work and yes, I totally agree that Teaching is a calling.

  3. Thanks Krista. Yeah..I’m not sure if I’m ready for motherhood of boys…or girls for that matter : )

  4. You don’t know how many times I’ve bragged about you as a teacher. You just get it. You just do, and you always will. I know it was a rough day, but it was rough cause it matters to you.

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