Saturday, September 19, 2015

You Know You're An English Teacher When... (A List by Rachel)

You know you're an English teacher when...

#1) get together with your friends to talk about lesson ideas and books you're reading (I do this with my fellow interns every day).

#2) decide to sleep in on Saturday and set your alarm clock for 7:30.

#3) wake up on that same Saturday at 6:40 and can't go back to sleep, but it's OK because you've still slept later than usual.

#4) head for the teachers' lounge at lunch like a dying man in the desert going for water--not because you're hungry, but because you are about to enjoy 25 minutes of sophisticated conversation using grown up vocabulary.

#5) start grading exams and fifteen minutes later you've memorized the answer key.

#6) can get up in front of a class and make them believe that you think the four sentence types or the elements of fiction writing are the MOST EXCITING THINGS ON THIS PLANET.

#7) see a poster that says "Every time you don't capitalize the letter "I," a Unicorn dies" and end up doubled over laughing.

#8) want to laugh just as hard when one of your students does a peer edit and exclaims, "I've killed so many unicorns!"

#9) dream about your upcoming class trip to the school library (not kidding, this happened to me last night).

#10) discover that it is possible to want to hug and to strangle a student all at the same time.

#11) care about your students so much that every failing grade, every misbehavior, every blank look of confusion makes you sad, and sometimes makes you wonder what you could have done differently.

(As a related tangent, this is, I feel, the glass half full-glass half empty dilemma of teaching. Most of your students will get it the first time and be engaged and be learning, but a few will not, either by choice or by nature. Every teacher has to choose whether to look at herself as a mostly success or a bit of a failure. It is so easy to see only the part-time failings and forget the success. Tangent over.)

#12) pray for 130 thirteen year olds every night.

#13) ...there's room in your heart to love them all, even (or perhaps especially) the ones who resist and misbehave and won't let you reach them or help.

#14) wonder how on earth you will ever make a difference in the lives of these kids when you yourself make so many mistakes.

#15) ...a student tells you about the book they're reading, the story their writing, the reaction they had to a class activity or short story... and suddenly everything else--all the grading and outcomes and behavior intervention and planning and worry and stress--is worth it.

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