Pity Party, Party Of One

“Ask, ‘Why is this so unbearable? Why can’t I endure it?’ You’ll be embarrassed to answer.” — Marcus Aurelius

Why does the passage of time from early spring to summer vacation seem so insurmountably long? We all blame it on spring hormones, spring testing, spring break or the lack of a spring break. Today was pitiful for me. But if I look deeply enough into why, it comes back to me.

I teach 7th grade. It’s a tough grade. Luckily it’s only one year of agonizing hell. Unfortunately for myself and other suckers, we get to experience that agonizing year of hell over and over and over and over and over and…

Today I spent most of my time with the 7th grade and then the 6th grade, a group I don’t teach, and they are all super immature. I don’t actually have any patience. I’m exhausted. I’m not good at teaching this age group. I taught in a high school previous to this year, and at a college before that. I not only enjoy working with older students better, I’m also actually better at it.

I need to take a giant step back and instruct these youngsters explicit reading comprehension strategies. I need to teach them study habits. I cannot discuss how the biblical allusions in A Wrinkle In Time highlight the author’s message because they don’t know what an allusion is and they can’t inference. I cannot stand to read their literary analyses because they don’t know proper capitalization and punctuation. The reason I’m exhausted is because they need to be taught and retaught the basics and I find all of that Painfully Boring. And if I’m bored, they’re not following along in my lesson because they aren’t engaged one iota.

It’s almost mid-April and it’s too early to slide into home, I have to pull together some kind of engaging, stimulating, memorable lesson plans to get them to where they need to be so I can enjoy teaching them next year when they are no longer evil spawns of torturous hell, but 8th graders. And summer always provides a beautiful dose of amnesia to the agony of springtime in a middle school.

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