The optimism of my last entry will not be reflected here.  I lost my first student.  And it was sad.  I felt he was put in a bad situation because he came in testing well below his actual capacity, and while I had him in class he was acing every test and sleeping throughout.  I didn’t have the heart to punish him for the mental capacities of his fellow students being so much further behind his own.  It was hard to lose him.  I liked him.  He was a good kid. 

And two nights ago I had the revelation that I my enthusiasm is weakening.  I no longer walk into school with the same sort of enthusiasm that I used to.  Sometimes I wait for class by my door, and I wait with dread: wondering not if, but when Eric will punch someone else in class while I’m telling him to sit down.  And then I’m responsible for the punched student, the puncher, and everything’s my fault. 

My students started out well.  But as more and more new information gets thrown at them, they’re returning worse and worse test scores and objective mastery.  And I’m not sure what to do.  I’m out of snazzy classroom intros to get their attention.  I’m tired of grading.  I’ve been getting a lot more headaches lately, and that fact that I’m drinking about four to five cans of soda a day is probably not helping. 

Check two paragraphs ago.  Two nights ago I had a breaking point.  Where I almost cried.  Because I’m so tired at 6 pm on a friday night, there’s nothing I can do but go home and crawl into bed and hope I get some sleep before I have to get up again, on Saturday, and go to school. 

One of the other teachers says there’s probably nothing more difficult that working in an urban school that is trying to be high performing.  I’m inclined to agree.  My life is my school right now.  Almost everything I do (even this included) is dedicating my existence to my school.  When I’m in school I’m making copies, I’m filling out paperwork, I’m writing emails, I’m trying to relax before next class, I’m up in front of my classroom.  I’m filling in for another teacher.  I’m monitoring homework help.  I’m monitoring detention.  I’m fulfilling the mandatory duties of sponsoring fencing club.  I’m getting home around six most days. 

When I get home everything is about teaching.  I shove in a dinner inbetween, usually during, grading, entering grades, calling parents, planning for the next day.  And somewhere around 10:15 I think, “Crap.  I really need to get to bed otherwise I’ll be useless tomorrow.”  I usually get to bed by 11.  Cleaning up, changing, showering, organizing, and preparing take a little while.  I wake up at six and I’m thinking about teaching.  Thinking how I should have come up with a more interesting opener.  Maybe I should just skip the warm up.  Maybe I just won’t teach the lesson.  Did I come up with a lesson for today, or was I just thinking about making one up. 

And so it goes…