Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Accentuate the Positive

The week and a half since I last blogged has been nothing short of a whirlwind.  Yesterday, I was late for our 6th grade Literacy meeting (for the second week in a row), and amidst my apology I told my literacy specialist, "I'm sorry, the past two weeks have felt like one really, really long day."  And they have.  It has been a hodge podge of pacing guides, grading, teaching, grading, answering millions of questions, grading, and trying to have some semblance of a social life in between.  

I will say, my birthday week threw me off my groove, in terms of school.  I paid dearly for all that time I spent with friends and family when I had a stack of about 500 papers to grade the next week--talk about a near meltdown.  I got it all done though, just in time to turn in grades and start all over.  My students are now learning to write narratives in 6th grade and informative essays (3 point papers) in 7th grade, which means my grading hours have gotten MUCH longer this past week.  In addition, my grad school class is attempting to hijack my life until Christmas.  All of our assignments for the course are due in the second half of the semester, starting now.  Merry Christmas to me.  

Despite all of this venting, I have to say that I LOVE my job more and more all the time.  It is desperately frustrating when smart kids get bad grades because they don't turn in their work, and teaching middle school can drive you crazy if you focus on the fluent "Whinese" speakers all day long. Instead of focusing on those things, I have been trying to do my best to focus on all the good things that have been happening lately.  

Example--one of my 6th graders, who has told me all year long that he is "bad at English," showed me seven different examples of prepositional phrases today AND told me he was starting to get better at English.  Yay! Success!   Another student in 7th grade wrote an almost perfect 3 point paper about S.E. Hinton and The Outsiders last week.  It was so wonderful to read a paper without ever picking up a grading pen.  

A friend of mine used to say "accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative," and that couldn't be more necessary in my everyday life.  Crazy things happen.  Lessons get scratched or modified or just plain won't work.  Kids act like they've never heard of rules before.  Those things happen, but our days cannot be defined by those small annoyances when there are so many fantastic little victories to celebrate.  So tomorrow, I will celebrate.  I will be unflinchingly positive, and I will refuse to let those crazy things get in the way.  

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