Glimmers of Hope

It was a bad day. No, it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Waking up sick. Spending the morning thisclose to tears. Stressed, stressed, stressed. On edge, waiting for something else to go wrong. Wondering who’s going to quit next.

Jittery, anxious all day. Nerves completely shot. Actually googling “signs of a nervous breakdown” and wondering what it takes to get medical leave.

It’s that bad.

I know I’m a good teacher. But I also know that in heightened situations like these, I’m not as good as I can be. My words get sharp. My patience is gossamer. One minute I’m close to normal, the next I’m prickly. Which then makes me feel like an even worse human being, and the downward spiral goes even further.

But in all of that…awfulness…all of that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day-ness…there were glimmers of hope. Sprouts of hope that something good is being built in this classroom, even as it tries to kill me.

One teacher who spent time in my room emailed me and told me how good I was with my students and how you could see how much I love them. That I get them excited about learning.

Another teacher, unbeknownst to the first, came to me to tell me how the love in my classroom is palpable. And that wherever I teach next year, it will be the best day of some kid’s life to find out that I’m their teacher.

Even typing those things is making me a little teary. I’m not saying those to toot my own horn, because honestly my first reaction is “Did you SEE me yesterday? Because I’m not sure I can agree with that.” And then I remember that they even saw a little of the classroom insanity yesterday. And they still wrote/said those things.

Part of me wants to believe them. Part of me is afraid to, because I can’t be that good, right? And then a moment pops in my head.

We were playing a math game in groups. The whole team could work together, but one child had to do the writing, with help if needed. During one of the turns, one of the children got confused and didn’t get the right answer. This is a child who is on the spectrum and is usually the happiest child in the room. But when this child’s feelings are hurt, there is crying and sobbing and wailing.

As the game moved on to the next turn, I looked over and saw the tears begin to flow. And then I saw another student in the group, one who is usually all rambunctious boy with a glimmer of trouble in his eye, turn to the crying child, pat the child on the back, and begin whispering. I have no idea what was said, but I know that everyone was all smiles a minute or two later.

If, on a crazy, terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, that could still happen? Maybe there is hope.

Hope that I’m doing something right.

Hope that these children are still getting a quality, developmentally appropriate education.

Hope that we will make it to the end of the school year.

Let it be so.

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