Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sometimes I Want to GIVE UP!

Yesterday morning, I wanted to crawl back into bed, hide under the covers, and hope that everything that I needed to do would magically take care of itself.  The cold weather and dark clouds matched my discouraged mood, and I could hardly get myself going. I was frustrated about all of the test prep that must occur in order to help my middle school students experience success when there are so many wonderful and, dare I say, more important things I want to teach.  I was angry about the new testing format that contains questions that are so subjective that not even a room full of highly-qualified teachers can agree on the answers. I was saddened as I thought about how challenging the new passages are, especially for my students who are reading far below grade level. My heart shattered as I considered the look of defeat on the faces of my students as they tried to muddle through the passages and questions and just couldn't get it. I felt like a failure as a teacher when I remembered the low test scores from the last round of Acuity testing. The overflow of emotions suffocated me and I wanted to cry. I wanted to give up. I wanted to quit.
But then I begin to think of the things that I could control. I could control my attitude. I could use my knowledge of best-practices and help my students move closer to being able to pass the test. Inch by inch we would crawl, but we would get there together. I could stop complaining about the new test, pool my resources, and teach my students to the best of my ability.

I prayed and asked the Lord to give me strength to help me through the day as I dragged my weary bones into the shower. By time I drove to work, I was still down in the dumps, but then, as my students begin to stream into the room, something wonderful begin to happen. Over the next two hours, my mood lifted as I saw their eagerness to learn. I was touched by their DESIRE to keep chugging along, even if the work was hard, and I knew that I shouldn't/wouldn't/couldn't give up.

If we all work together, I am confident that we can encourage one another and come up with ways of helping our students experience success. As a first step, I'd like to share a lesson with you that I completed with my study skills class.  Feel free to use this with your students as a way of helping them become familiar with the new Istep+  Language Arts test that they will have to complete in March. (Click on the picture to download the lesson.)

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
~1 Thessalonians 5: 19

I will keep this verse in mind and give thanks for the educational situation that we face today. Be encouraged, my friends, and don't give up! Our students need us!