Slice of Life: Out the Window

I was deceiving myself.

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Was I moving forward,

or slipping back?

Last week, I found myself slowly transporting back to my third year of teaching. The year where I had multiple mentors helping me iron out my classroom management skills. The year where I changed the seating layout of my classroom more than three times and tried numerous strategies to maintain an orderly classroom. The year where I learned that I needed to build better relationships with my students after exhausting all my energy on logistics, on the bells and whistles of the classroom environment. The year when the pandemic hit.

The year where I was at my breaking point.

The year where cracks of my mental health began to heal when I started teaching online instead of in-person.

The year where I told myself,

I can still do this.

Fast forward to now, my sixth year of teaching. During the first four weeks, I was feeling good. I was laying the foundations, sharing classroom routines, building relationships with my students through team building activities. When the fifth week came, the spell broke.

I was reminded once more, that good classroom management does not solve all behavioral issues. That I did not have the stamina to be as consistent I as I wanted to be. That negative emotions can still overtake me.

After watching a video from Honestteachersvibes on classroom management, I am relearning that my classroom management does not have to be perfect. That I am not a robot. During the first four weeks, I felt like I was working so hard to set up my students for a great year, but it only took one or two students, their brokenness and rude behavior, to gnaw at my hopes and expose my perfectionist tendencies, the thorn in my flesh.

I was on this edge,

this edge of wanting to just

throw everything out the window.

I felt like David Martinez from Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, needing to shoot suppressants of patience, peace and empathy in my veins to constantly to keep the Cyberpsychosis of burnout and pessimism at bay.

I thought I was getting better at numbing the pain when needles of students’ rudeness flies into my brain. I guess I don’t feel the pain immediately anymore. But it is still there.

Photo by Rick Han on Pexels.com

This unraveling unrest took seed in my interactions with my colleagues. I found comfort in conversations of shared suffering, the mourning of the honeymoon period’s end.

But those feelings turned sour in the absence of such connection.

“How was your day?” I asked another colleague at the end of the day.

“Pretty good,” she said, “And you?”

When I told her I had a tough day, her face filled with surprise.

Her exact words blurred in my memory. She may have said, “Really?”

Her lighthearted smile stirred a subtle anger in me.

I should not feel like this.

I shouldn’t get angry when someone else is not having a bad day. She is a new teacher at our school, so I should be wishing joy and peace for her first year.

But I did not feel happy at all by her words, triggered by what I perceived as insensitivity and a mix of my own jealousy.

Have I tossed everything I learned out the window?

I feel like I am chasing fleeting dreams out the window. I do not want to be like the man in James 1:24, who “after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”

I must remember.


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8 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Out the Window

Add yours

  1. Maybe the new teacher was surprised by your confession because she sees you as a joyful person who appears to have everything together. I say this because during one of my toughest years I learned that’s how a colleague saw me. Teaching is hard. It’s full of highs and lows. As you observe, some kids are broken, and I bet their lashing out has nothing to do w/ you, except you’re a safe person for them. I don’t know how old your students are, but when kids lashed out at mecI often asked them if Idcdone something to upset them. The answer was always “no.” They had no idea they were taking their troubles out on me. They did it because they felt safe in my classroom. I bet your students feel that way too.

  2. Oh, my, I can see myself in the experiences you’ve relayed in this post. I didn’t have great classroom management, but you are right, as you mentioned a couple times, those relationships will take you a long way. Here’s to great relationships with your students and lots of shared experiences this year. Blessings to you. I know it’s hard.

  3. Sounds like a tough time, to go through bad teaching days. I can only imagine what that’s like. I’ve taught adults, but that’s not the same thing, no? I admire your honesty, of sharing your true feelings and reactions even though they may not seem like the best foot to put forward. But we’re human, and we go through so many things, and it’s this capturing of your honest thoughts that allow readers to relate. Thanks for sharing!

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