Welcome to the Club

Gratuitous Unrelated Cat Pic

“Ugh,” I said to my mom last Thursday. “Half the day I didn’t know if I did anybody any good.”

“What do you mean?” She asked.

“Part of the day I felt like this exactly how it’s supposed to be, but the part of the day, I kept thinking, “I have no idea what I’m doing,”” I laughed.

For most of my student teaching, I’ve adopted the philosophy that, when working with kids with challenging backstories, you look for the little victories and then try to build on them. It’s a simple philosophy that, as I realized the other day, is going to need some branching out.

I was covering the classes for another teacher that day. The first class went well, but the second period, I knew I’d been snowed by the kids at one point. The third class was a triumph and the fourth was a draw. By the time my seventh period came to a close, I had decided to call the day a tie, which is why, when I got to my car, I did what any responsible adult would do. I called my mom.

My mom isn’t “just” a great mom. She’s also a veteran high school English teacher and history professor, and I knew she’d have a few words of wisdom to put the day in perspective.

She listened to me babble about a few of my triumphs and blunders, sensitively keeping her laughs to a quiet chuckle before she was able to get a word in.

“That sounds like what I remember in the beginning,” she said. “Welcome to teaching.”

We both laughed as I started the car, looking forward to the next day of looking for little victories but also feeling like I’d joined a pretty good club.