I'm not sure how to begin to explain the negative mood I've been in for awhile now. My seventh graders are getting to that point where they start looking at each other as more than just the classmates they've known since kindergarten. It's the whole boy-girl thing. The girls are maturing faster than the boys, so they want to talk everything out. The boys just want to throw things. Preferably AT the girls.
The girls would like to hold on to this sense of family that they've created, especially since our visit to Camp Caritas in the fall. The boys just want to throw things. The more they focus on any one problem that they think the class has, the more of that problem we stumble into.
And then there's the teacher. I spend so much of my energy focused on schoolwork that never gets completed, that I feel like I'm losing my sense of self. And, of course, the more I focus on the negative aspects of my job, the more negativity finds me. So I talked to the kids today about this and I told them that we need to let go of the negativity and Find the Joy once again! I mean, it feels like it's been far too long since I made my students laugh...something that has always brought me joy; something that I'm really good at! But I've been so unhappy lately, that my sense of humor had even failed me.
As I was speaking to the kids this morning about letting go of the negativity, I realized that I wasn't really saying it for them. I was saying it for me! I'm the one who needs to Find the Joy again. It needs to start with someone; might as well be me!
So I took matters into my own hands today...literally. During lunch recess, I was walking over to the office and decided to stop where a couple of the boys were playing basketball. I took the ball from one of them and took the shot. It wasn't pretty. "Hey, Miss McMillan, try again!" Another ball was handed to me and I took another shot. Clank! Ooops.
Before I knew it, almost the entire seventh grade as well as a few eighth graders were surrounding me, cheering me on. And each time I'd miss, someone would throw the ball back to me. For future reference, it really pays to try and keep track of where every basketball is at any given time. You never know when one might come flying in at you from a totally unexpected source and hit you...where you don't want to be hit. All I can say is it's a good thing I had my sunglasses on, because the tears started welling up right away. That hurt!! It still hurts! But I didn't want the boy who hit me to feel horrible, so I picked up the ball and started shooting again.
"Try again, McTeachy!"
"Yeah, you can't give up!"
"What's with the elbow, McTizzo?"
Wait...what's wrong with my elbow?
"It's way up in the air. It should be tucked into your side."
Ohhhhh...I've gone back into softball mode and am holding a bat with my elbow up!
Thanks, Taylor. Good advice.
Well, I did manage to stink up the place, but I had a wonderful time doing it. The best part was the reaction of the kids. Each time I'd miss (which was every time!), the kids would shout out "Ohhhhh!!!" And then they'd throw me the ball and say, "Try again!" And I did...over and over and over. And, for a few minutes, we just had fun. Me...my kids...and some hoops.
I did have one shot - my last shot - that was heading right for the basket. I could almost hear the "Swish!" when another ball came flying in from the right and...WHAM! knocked my ball right out of the line to the basket! The same boy who'd hit me with the basketball had thrown another ball toward the same basket and prevented the most beautiful swish ever!
So I chased him off the court.
Laughter ensued. What a beautiful sound!