Monday, May 27, 2013

Not Meeting Potential

I heard that phrase a lot as a student. I'm sure my parents heard it about me quite a bit as well. Frequently I was 'not meeting my potential.'

Right now it is true as a teacher. I firmly believe I can be a good teacher. At times a very good teacher. But not right now.

Right now I am cranky. Right now I am short tempered. Right now I have no patience.

As a result I am raising my voice. As a result I am threatening. As a result I am punishing. As a result I am scowling a lot.

This isn't about my students. It would be easy to blame them, blame spring fever, blame not enough outdoor recess, blame blah, blah, blah. It's not about them. They are delightful. They are bright. They are funny. They are excited to be at school.

Sadly, this is about me.

I know there are many factors affecting me right now; worries about some things at home, Testing Affective Disorder, stress about all that must happen as the year wraps up, frustration about things at school.

Knowing those factors isn't enough. For at least the past week I have listened to myself and been pained at what I heard. I knew as I was talking to my students that what I was doing was unfair to them and not what I believe in. In spite of that I couldn't or wouldn't make a change.

I don't have a solution. I will work extra hard starting tomorrow to meet my potential.


Mark said...

This is a brave post, and I admire your courage in writing it. One suggestion: our environment influences us more than we realize. Is there any way your classroom setup or decor could be changed to help your behavior (and your students' behavior) to change as well?

Scott said...

Yes. I've been here off and on through this year. Like you, I've said, "It's not them. It's me." But that hasn't helped me "live up to my potential." We've finished the year and I've decided that this year has been a foundation for me to do better next year. Hang in there.

Miss Rayburn said...

I am right there with you! I despise this time of year because my patience is worn thin and there are so many things that need to be done. I vow every day to make it better than the one before.

Jenny said...

Mark, I think the environment is a huge factor. However, I think my classroom this year is fabulous (in my humble opinion). I've had many people comment on how much they love being in there. (Outside of my classroom, I do have some environmental frustrations but I have less control there.)

Scott, I've really enjoyed your reflections throughout this year. 15 years in (although only 5 in first grade) it is fascinating to see through the eyes of someone so reflective and thoughtful as they adjust to first grade.

Miss Rayburn, That's a fabulous vow - if I can keep making each day better I'll be doing well!