Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Where My Fun At?

Earlier this week, a colleague and I were talking about life in the classroom and she was all, "We have one of the most fun jobs there is!"  And I was all, "????"  And she was all, "Yeah, remember the fun?"  And I was all, "Riiiiiiiiight."

People.  It's November.  For most of you, that means report cards and possibly conferences.   Which means data, data, data, some progress monitoring, and more data.  Which means driving yourself insane to find moments to still do actual teaching in the midst of all this ridiculous assessing.  Which means piles of paper everywhere.  Which means that I-just-want-to-lie-down feeling hits you in the face every time you walk into your classroom and see those piles and think of that data which reminds you of report cards and for-the-love-of-all-things-holy-and-organized how am I going to get it all done?!?

Wait, where's the fun again?

The fun is with the kids.  Remember them? 

I wish I could take away your To Do List, or at least make it shorter, but I can't. What I CAN do is remind you to focus on your friends, because most of them are probably hilarious and amazingly talented.  Maybe re-frame report card time/ parent-teacher conferences as an opportunity to have more than one glass of wine tonight remember what it is that you love about each of your students and the progress each of them has made.  Start with that. 

Being the nerd Organizational Goddess that I am, I prepared a series of notes on each student for conferences.  Nothing crazy fancy, because we all know that Mrs. Mimi hates nothing more than wasted time, just something to help keep me focused through all those meetings.  (So.  Much.  Smiling.)  I had a space for each child in which I jotted a few quick bullets about their reading, writing, math, and content area work.  I also would make quick notes about behavioral issues (if any...) I wanted to mention and/or quick stats if we had an attendance issue.  (I wanted to give out free alarm clocks but The Visionary said no.  School starts at 8 every day.  Every.  Day.)  BUT....and here comes the point (finally), the first note was always a reminder about a funny or inspiring classroom moment that involved that child.  When I was speaking to the parent of my favey fave friends (because we all have faves, be real with me here...) or the parent of the friend who made me consider that extra glass of wine each night was a bit more challenging, I always led with this anecdote. 

I know we need to meet our deadlines and give assessments and be real with parents about the progress their children are or aren't making.  And we will.  But we also need to make time to remember and enjoy those moments when your friends are hysterically funny, incredibly kind or unbelievably smart.

Because our job is pretty fun. 

7 comments:

Edris Goolsby Harrell, Ph.D. said...

As a parent, yes I love to hear where my kids' reading, writing and math skills are (especially in concrete terms, like what grade level). But what I find myself repeating to the grandparents, aunts and uncles afterwards are the anecdotes about what my child said or did, and what their personality is like in the classroom (done in a positive way, of course). It makes me feel like the teacher sees the same special child that I see. And that makes it easier to hear the rest...good or bad.

Bets's Blog said...

Really enjoyed this post. I always love sharing those kind of moments with families. As much as I like making kids smile I really enjoy making their parents smile too, it helps everyone relax!

Unknown said...

As a parent and a teacher I know what you mean. As I work on getting my grading report complete I think about how much fun I'm having being an example that my class doesn't see outside our building. I'm having a ball pushing them to want to learn, trying new ideas to push past the culture that's stopping them. Yeah, I'm having a grand ol' time. Looking forward to clocking in tomorrow and really making their week.

Erv said...

Wow...you have such a way with words. I often find myself laughing and saying "that is so true!" I was just talking to a colleague today about losing the "joy" in teaching and wanting to find it again. Your comments have steered me in the right direction. Thanks!

Erv said...

Wow...you have such a way with words. I often find myself laughing and saying "that is so true!" I was just talking to a fellow teacher today about the fact that I am losing the "joy" in teaching and I want to find it again. Your comments have steered me in the right direction. Thanks!

BmoreJessica said...

I definitely feel you on the data---I feel like between my city, my state, and my school everyone is looking for different data and they all want it at the same time!

I'm wondering what you think about my school, though. In a high-poverty urban area with not much parent involvement, my school decided this year not to hold parent-teacher conferences. I understand that a lot of parents wouldn't show up, but what about the ones that would? Have you ever heard of a school doing this?

holly said...

This post made me laugh! It reminded me of an old teacher friend of mine who always called her students "friends" and usually announced the need for an extra glass of wine at the end of a challenging day. :)

I just discovered your blog a few days ago and love it!

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