The EOI test is in April. For most of these students, graduation is a few years off. But, these students are in my classroom TODAY. I need to learn to focus on them and what the current day holds. Lately, I've been focusing more on the things I can't control than the ones I can. Then, I allow my frustration change my attitude and my outlook.
I hadn't really been aware of this shift in my thinking and my focus until last week when a student told me something I will remember for a long while. Every day, this student puts his bag in my room before lunch since he has my class after lunch. And, every day I tell him hi and/or ask how he is.
Last week, I don't remember if I actually said "Hi" or not. But, he told me that I looked sad. When I questioned him about it, he told me this: "You used to always look so happy when I came in the room, but lately you look like you hate your life."
I don't hate my life. And, I certainly don't hate my job. I love that I get to spend my days teaching my students about math and life. But, I hate that I can't change how my students choose to view themselves. I hate that I can't change my students' past experiences with math or school in general. I hate that I don't know how to bring about change in this school. And, I hate that the process of change is such a slow one.
I know exactly where my frustration lies, but my students don't. I need to focus on doing my job to the best of my ability and hope that others choose to follow me.
I e-mailed my the middle school teacher that I student taught with last week, and he wrote me back some words of wisdom. They resonated with me so much that I made them my desktop background.
My goal for this next week (and the rest of my career) is to focus on my students. There will always be things I cannot control. I must try to bring about the change I believe in, but I cannot allow my success or lack thereof in that arena to define my attitude.