What is my favorite part of the school day and why?
This is another tough one! As I glanced briefly at the prompts for the month before I began the challenge, I thought to myself, I can do this! and now I realize that this is actually more difficult than it seems. And the funniest thing of all is that I often ask my students questions just like these and expect that they can answer with ease. Who doesn't have a favorite season? Who doesn't have a favorite drink or place to study or day of the week? Or even a favorite part of the day?
I've been thinking about this prompt throughout my day today and I have come to the conclusion that I just can't choose one specific time of day that is my favorite. However, I have no plans to give up this challenge. I will not answer with a simple, "Geez, I just don't know." Instead, I thought I would share the parts of the day that keep me coming back day after day. Let's face it, teaching is not for the weak. It can be draining at times and sometimes even seem to suck the life out of you. So why would someone willing choose to return each and every day?
The few minutes just before class starts: This is my hopeful time; a time when I glance at my plans or notes, put my best game face on and say to myself, "I've got this. This is going to be a great lesson." It sounds silly but I have to get myself somewhat psyched before I start.
During my lesson: I wish I could say that it happens each and every time but when I'm sitting there on a desk (I almost always find myself sitting on a desk in the midst of my students) with my coffee in hand (an absolute necessity) showing them why they should love Italy, Italian culture and the Italian language or asking them a series of questions or doing just what all of us do- teach- for a moment, as I'm looking out onto this sea of faces, I realize they're actually listening to me, they're getting it and they're enjoying it! This for me is why I have no fear of getting in front of my class and teaching because I know I'll have this kind of experience. Like I said, it's not an everyday occurrence because let's face it, sometimes your lesson falls just short of amazing. However, it happens enough to get me to keep coming back.
Lunch with my colleagues: I have been fortunate enough to have common lunch or prep time with some amazing teachers. This time is invaluable for bouncing ideas off of each other, comparing notes, and yes, sometimes just plain old bitching and moaning. Teaching can be a lonely profession. For the most part, it's just you and your kids. But on your prep or lunch, you become a member of the adult world again, leaning on your colleagues for advice and support.
X-time: At my school we have X-time, which is an extra help period at the end of the day. We're required to be there whether we have someone to help or not. It's a good time to photocopy or plan or chat with colleagues if you don't have students. However, many times, I have had students come to my room for different reasons, which make me glad this time is built in. Some kids need a place to hang until sports practice or cheerleading or drama. Some kids actually need help AND actually come! Some kids come because they need a safe place where they feel comfortable to share something personal in confidence. Whatever the reason, I am always glad that they choose to come by because it reinforces at the end of the day that what I'm doing counts for something.