Every so often, teachers have days where everything comes together. The students are engaged, when the bell rings kids go, “Aww…” in disappointment, and I end the day feeling energized having accomplished something worthwhile and memorable.
I had a day last week that was NOT that day.
It was a bad day. Not quite Alexander levels, but it felt like it.
I love my job, and I very rarely have bad days, which was why this one was disconcerting because of how grumpy I felt.
It started at our English department meeting before school, where some protocol miscommunication led to frustration and deadlines getting missed for some materials I requested for my classes. It continued into my first period, a freshman class into whom I tried to inject enthusiasm for Romeo and Juliet. It’s not working. I emphasized how outrageous some of the dialogue is, and taught them the double entendre meanings. I was getting NOTHING from them – hardly even eye contact, let alone a verbal response. It’s unsettling to explain the importance of consummating a marriage and the medieval practice of having priests or family members there to witness the occasion – and not even a raised eyebrow of interest or shock.
|We read aloud; we sword fight; we make colorful character webs…so very little excitement…|
I really don’t like teaching Shakespeare, mostly because I don’t know enough to teach it properly. Romeo and Juliet is my least favorite text in the freshman curriculum. I work hard to bring energy to it and not let my distaste show, but their apathetic responses made me feel even grumpier.
During my free period I checked my email to see several responses to a message I had sent earlier in an attempt to clarify a student field trip; in my mood I read them as incredibly snarky, which furthered my general feeling of being unappreciated. When third period AP rolled in I had already knocked my coffee mug off my desk twice and was not at all ready for class.
I am pretty sure that my grumpiness was pregnancy hormone related, but this didn’t make it much better. Awareness of a cause only helped me temper my mood a little. I candidly told my AP students I was having a bad day and that I changed the lesson plan to involve less actual teaching. I felt so much like snapping at them it couldn’t be a constructive lesson.
I contemplated how realistic it might be to just go home early; by lunchtime, I debated the repercussions of just writing a note on my board to my three afternoon classes, telling them to be quiet and lock the door when they left. Would anyone know I wasn’t actually in my room teaching? Would my students rat me out?
I made it until 3:05, but left as soon as I could after school; I knew I wouldn’t be productive if I stayed. Sleep and chocolate went a long way to feeling better. I know most people have bad days a lot more often than I do, but thanks for listening to my narrative anyway.
This pregnancy I am much better at understanding how my hormones affect my moods; the first time with Spartacus, I vividly remember sitting down in the middle of my bedroom floor, surrounded by chunks of Green Bay Packer flip-flops that Annabelle had torn up because Hubster left the closet door open, and bawling like a close family member had just died. The flip-flops did not merit this response. Annabelle was very confused.
This round I recognize when my mood swings are wildly out of proportion to the situation. It doesn’t mean I can completely control them and flip to the emotion I want, but it makes it a bit easier deciding appropriate responses to the other humans with whom I come into contact. Although the total lack of gratitude I get from people who don’t seem to notice the supreme self control this requires throws me deeper into the despondency of my own sense of under-appreciation…
5 Mondays until the end of the semester!