big nap = no sleep

I can't sleep. Part of me says I should just get up and start my tomorrow...walk the dogs, go to the gym, etc., but 12:30 doesn't really seem like a reasonable time for all of that (plus I couldn't convince Tyler to get out of bed, strap on our headlamps, and walk the dogs).

My nap earlier is definitely responsible, but so are the images of my students and my classroom that are nonstop fluttering around in my mind. My new position has been good to me. I love working with older students again. I don't necessarily love their filthy mouths, but I do enjoy the novelty and sense of freedom I feel being able to say the word "crap" if I want and not worry that some parent is going to complain about my vulgarity. True story.

Because my school is in its third year of a school improvement grant, all of the teachers are regularly observed, 1-2 times per week. In theory, I like this. Actually, I have always liked evaluations, even way back when during parent/teacher conferences when I was little. I couldn't wait for my mom to get home so I could hear what the teachers thought of me. I was an average, sometimes above average student, but mainly I was just a good kid. I did what I was told and I tried real hard. The feedback, at least from what I remember, was positive.  College classes were the same, and eventually my job performance observations/evaluations filled that same category of recognition. Perhaps it is my competitive nature, but I really do try to do my best. I want to excel in all areas, and I constantly reflect on my teaching practices to change elements that aren't working.

I had the shittiest of shitty reviews this last week. Easily the worst I have ever my entire life. It was so bad it all but made me want to say, "fuck it". I am not perfect, and I am in no way saying that I've always had perfect reviews. There have always been pieces for me to work on. To me that is part of life, that is how we grow and develop as people, how we develop our craft. I have just never had one that was so completely negative that it completely knocked me off of the blocks I have spent years strategically fitting together to hold me up, to keep me balanced. I have been on tilt ever since, and I spent two days crying.

My first two observations went as expected, a few things to work through, but nothing major. I left my post-evaluations feeling good, feeling like I could make the changes that were suggested. And I did. Without providing too much detail, I incorporated two elements into my daily lessons that should have taken care of my weaker areas. Otherwise my daily lessons were set up the same way. My confusion stems from this. In my mind, my next review should have improved.

But it didn't. I was observed in my toughest class and I was observed by a different coach. The students in this group are way less inclined to want to participate. They talk more, and I spend more time coaxing them back into what we are doing. But none of that should matter in my mind, because the way I taught was exactly the same.

My frustration also stems from the way this information was delivered to me. The first words out of my coach's mouth was, "this wasn't a good lesson for you was it?" Immediately, I was put on the defense. "Um, actually, I didn't think it was that bad," was my response, and that is when I actually looked at my "grades", which were terrible. I didn't earn full points in any category. How is that even possible? Seriously, how? As she began to scroll through my faults, I was stunned into silence and my eyes fixated on my desk. I'm pretty sure I must have looked like Kim Cattrall when she played that mannequin that came to life in that eighties movie.

After a few minutes, she stopped, sighed, and was like, "do you want to do this later." "No." Why the fuck would I want to save this abuse to screw up another portion of my day? She continued and I had all together stopped defending my reasons for certain elements of my teaching. She was crying, and saying she was sorry, and asking if I was mad at her. All I could manage was, "I'm not mad at you, I just didn't think I was this bad." I wanted to add that I shouldn't have to console someone who just ruined my day, but I left that part out.

I'll stop here because I'm getting more agitated as I think about it. I told Tyler earlier that at least I'm mad now instead of upset, and therefore one step closer to acceptance. I should probably attempt sleep again since it's 2:00 now.

On a lighter note, I had cried so hard that my students noticed my red and swollen eyes the next day and asked if I was high. I told them, "yep, right before school today, I got real high." They, of course, thought that was hilarious.


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