I like efficiency. I like to make sure that I am as efficient as possible. A few years ago, I established the number system and cut back on a lot of problems I found myself dealing with in the classroom and saved myself some much-needed time.
I recently discussed the ideas of advertising and persuasion with my 10th grade English students. “Be wary,” I told them, “because everyone wants to sell you something.” Isn’t that the truth, though? And isn’t it true that we teachers are trying to sell something, too? A lesson or a unit or perhaps even good manners?
The year was 2002, and I was green. It was my first year as a real teacher, in my own classroom, and I was in charge of 90 hormonally-charged eighth grade students. Teaching grammar and reading and sentence fluency was often difficult when I had to combat students who couldn’t stop touching each other or putting on makeup in the middle of a lesson. I had three two-period block classes each day, and I often struggled to keep them entertained for 90 minutes at a stretch.
It was just a few years ago that I was 100 percent certain that I didn’t want to teach any more. Teaching had taken over my life; I had no time for my family, and most importantly, I had no time for my own basic needs. I was tired and grumpy all of the time, and I found no joy in teaching any more.