I hate feeling stupid. Hate it. I hate feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing. I like being the person that others come to for advice. I like being the one who knows everything; the one others ask for help. I do not like having to ask anyone else for help. Yeah, yeah, it's good to let others help. It makes them feel good. Blah, blah, blah. Whatever. I still don't like it. And no, I don't have control issues. I just always need to be right. And in charge.
If someone was to ask me a parenting question on nearly any topic, I’d feel confident that I could give an intelligent and constructive answer. That’s an area of my life where I feel like I have some degree of expertise. I may not be perfect at it, but I know what I’m doing. At school, however? I feel like an idiot. I don’t understand the terms they use here. Everyone tosses them around like they’re common knowledge, yet my head spins because they might as well be speaking a foreign language, as far as I’m concerned.
I don't know all the procedures and protocol for doing things here. What do you do if you have a student who is tardy to your class seventeen times? I assumed the attendance people would catch that I was marking him tardy every day and would do something. I guess not. When I brought it up, I was looked at like I was stupid for letting a student get seventeen tardies without saying anything. Sheesh, now that I think about it, maybe I should continue to let the kids get tardies. I should encourage them to take their time getting to my class because it means less time spent here making me insane. Kidding. Just kidding.
But really, I’m not a teacher. I didn’t go to college to be a teacher. I didn’t go to college at all, in fact. I didn’t student teach. I haven’t been doing this for years. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe I’m qualified for my position, but I lack experience and, unfortunately the only thing that can fix that is time.
I’m pretty sure all the eighth grade math teachers hate me. Yesterday, I alienated the eighth grade history teachers as well when I gave a student a copy of a vocabulary quiz with the answers filled in so he could study the words. In hindsight, that was a stupid move. Duh. I have no idea what I was thinking. Clearly, I wasn’t. I should only have gone over the words and never shown the student the test for him to simply memorize. The history teachers have every right to be upset. I was stupid. I hate being stupid.
When I (half) joke about quitting, some teachers nod their heads and commiserate, saying, “I don’t know how you do it. I couldn’t take working with those kids every period, every day.” But, honestly, it’s not even the kids who make me want to quit. They’re not the problem. They are who they are. They do what they do. I try to keep them on track, help them develop organizational skills, encourage them to be responsible. Sometimes it sinks in; sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes they respond and surprise me; sometimes they don't. It’s more like being a mom to thirty kids than a teacher. I’m fine with that. Yes, it gets discouraging at times. But other times, it’s pretty darn rewarding.
Nope, it’s not the kids. It’s me. I feel like I suck at this job and I don’t enjoy doing things that make me feel all suckish. Sigh.
(Don't worry, it's not all doom and gloom. Come back tomorrow for a fun-filled poop extravaganza courtesy of Clayton. Ugh, he's gonna get us kicked out of our neighborhood.)