Hey, guys! Before I get started on today's blog, I want to remind everyone that we've got another book signing coming up this Saturday the (18th) from 10:30 to 3:00 at Kaboodles in Denison. TX. If you're in the area, I hope you can drop by!
Summer is almost here. My college classes, thank God, wrapped up last week, and now I just have a few more days of mayhem tutoring my middle-schoolers before I get a nice two-week break.
And then life goes back to hectic.
I'm teaching summer school.
The good news is, I'm getting paid for it. The bad news is, the kids don't like me and I can't get them to do much of anything. There are a few good moments when everything seems to look up. Like the time I got the kids to clean the entire classroom by bribing them with chips. Or when I got my test results in to see that many of my kids have improved drastically in some areas. Or the time they got upset at another teacher for telling them to stop playing monkey-in-the-middle and had an unexpected outburst of loyalty to me, their teacher.
And then there are the funny moments. I guess you just have to laugh when the kids tape your stapler shut, or when they throw blueberries on the whiteboard, or when one kid says something moderately embarrassing and turns red. One time, one kid distracted me while another stealthily stuck a piece of tape onto my pants. I don't know how long I walked around with a tail, but the kids got a laugh out of it.
There are a few sweet moments, too. When a kid is crying or not feeling well and I offer a hug, they normally refuse, but sometimes they accept. Those moments really make my day.
Unfortunately, the good, the funny, and the sweet are rare. It's mostly chaos.
If they were my own kids, things would be easier. I'd have the authority to swat them if they got out of line. Like the time they had a flat-out roasting session on me. Or even yesterday, when everyone said they were bored and couldn't wait for class to be over and were never coming back.
This is what hurts my heart, because I feel like I'm single-handedly making them hate education. I'm doing my best. I'm eighteen with no formal training, and middle schoolers are apparently the toughest class to teach. Some days, I've gotten in my car after a particularly harrowing day of work and just cried.
Actually, I take that back; I've had a very little bit of formal training. I once went to an A.C.E school, which is set up very differently from a normal school. The students are all in one room at their individual desks. They have little flags that they can raise if they need to leave their desks for any reason, or if they need help with a particular subject. One year, I finished my work two weeks early and decided to be a monitor--a person who goes around, checking on the people with raised flags, seeing what they need. After one day of monitoring, I was wiped out. It was at that moment I realized how much harder it is to teach than it is to learn.
Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week. One of the kids from the neighboring class brought cupcakes to celebrate. I'm not sure if no one in my class was aware of it, or if they just decided I wasn't worth thanking. But then again, I've never really celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week either. Not with my mom, who taught me for ten years. Not with the teachers at the A.C.E. school. Not with my homeschool co-op leaders.
Teachers aren't the only ones with thankless jobs. Working in the food industry--or any service industry, for that matter--is tough and not well compensated for. People tend to take you for granted most of the time. You think it's tough dealing with customer service people? They probably have it worse. They're the ones who have to deal with everyone from the People of Walmart website.
This week, try thanking someone you normally wouldn't--a waitress, the clerk who helps you find a relocated item, a teacher, a janitor. It'll make their day, and maybe it'll help make yours a bit better, too. Who can you thank this week? And do you have any teaching tips? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to check us out on Amazon!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.