Monday, December 1, 2008

"Yipes! The Swamp!"

Teachers wear many (many) hats. We all know this to be true, but when you're the one wearing the hats, some days, the balancing act gets to be overwhelming. The longer I teach, the more "hats" I add to my already massive (teetering) stack. The one at the top I just earned last week, for forensics analysis (specializing in handwriting comparisons and forgery identification). I'm starting to feel like this guy:

Remember him? I was entertained by this book as a kid, but now I'm actually starting to relate to the peddler's monkey troubles. Oh, and that's not the only character that I've been channeling these days:

Yep, that was me at about 1:45 today, as the wind shifted and carried away with it the attention spans of the entire class. Poor kids, though -- I totally remember what it was like at this time of year, with the holiday break right around the corner and the teacher "whomp-whomp-whomping" away like the teacher in Charlie Brown.

What I don't understand is how I never noticed my teachers dealing with stress when I was younger. Was I just oblivious, or were they just superhuman? Many of them "motivated" through fear, however, which explains my memories of silent, orderly classrooms, in which you would have to really think deeply about whether you wanted to raise your hand or not, because it was always a risk. Intimidating students isn't my style, though; I prefer to make connections, to let laughter into the classroom, and to be flexible, open to change...but sometimes being an active teacher who promotes active learning is truly just exhausting.

Still, I am thankful for the gift of my students, each one of them in my care for only a year. Ultimately, what brings me back to teaching each year is that there is so much variation, so much room to grow and change. Perspectives shift constantly, and change is not just a good thing, it is also certain. I am not really a teacher, but a lifelong student, and I have so very much to learn.

Before I go to watch the new episode of Psych waiting for me on the DVR (can't wait!), I'll leave you with a Thanksgiving page I did for Collage Press. I'm crazy in love with CP's stamps. You can check out the design team's amazing projects here.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a little more worried about teacher-stress this year than ever before. Seems like my staff is already as stressed as they normally are in March or April. I can't even imagine what spring will be like.