Today I was a 2nd grade teacher at Robeson Elementary in Champaign. Before I get into the details of how my day went, let’s play a game. I am going to give you a list of activities, and you try to guess what they all have in common. Ready? Here we go!
Running Arkum Asylum.
Holding 1,000 rubber duckies under water at the same time.
Teaching monkeys how to do (correctly) calculus.
Traveling at the speed of light.
Living on the moon.
Living on Mars.
Finding someone in a developed nation who does not know who Barack Obama is.
So, what’s your guess? Did you guess that all of the above activities are easier than teaching the 2nd graders that I had in my class today? If so, you won! (Your prize is a gold star. Let me know if you won.)
Okay, seriously… I am serious. This class today was insanely out of control. Within an hour of the start of day, I had to send two boys to the principal’s office for punching each other in the head. Within an hour of that, I had 15 more of the 24 kids in the class all commit violations that would easily have justified sending them to the office. However, I am pretty certain that it doesn’t look good to have a substitute teacher send roughly 70% of the class to the principal’s office. The seven kids who didn’t do anything that would have justified going to the principal’s office were amazing.
Funny how that happens. No matter how bad a class is, there is always a handful of students who are awesome. They are the reason that I keep coming back. No matter how crazy some of the kids drive me, and no matter how stressed out I get, I know that there are a few who make it all worthwhile. Even though I have a pounding headache, possibly an early-warning sign of an aneurysm, I would go back to this class. So to Alex, Savannah, Gracie, Ethan, Ben, Tiffany, and Josie: thank you. I hope you know that you are the reason that I teach. To the rest of the class: thank you, also. I see the potential in each one of you to do something great in this world. I hope that I will be there when you recognise your own potential. It is for this, too, that I teach. Not for the headaches, the hoarse voice, the stress, and the insults. I teach for the hope of seeing you change the world. Maybe not today. Maybe not even tomorrow. But one day. I believe in you. Even if you don’t believe in yourselves.