There are days. Every teacher knows those days. The days where the students are dead silent, and seem incapable of even picking up a pencil. The days where students seem incapable of picking up a pencil, but this time because they can’t stay seated and focused on anything for more than 15 seconds. The days where you were up tossing and turning all night and are struggling just as much as your students to stay awake during 1st block. The days where you’re working and working and working and all of the sudden it’s dinnertime, or bedtime.
But then there are other days. Days where you saying “Alright one final problem for the day…” warrants a disappointed groan or an exclamation of how quickly class went by. Days where you catch a student smiling to themselves when they see how well they did on an assessment. Days when groups are actually talking math with each other and not just talking. DAYS WHEN EVERYONE IS PRESENT AND AWAKE AND NOT ON THEIR PHONES (I don’t know if this has ever actually happened but I’m holding out hope).
Friday’s 4th block was one of the good days. I projected problems (similar to #MTBoS30 Day 16: Easy Peasy Differentiation but with multi-step equations and inequalities) and students got to work on their desks. Their goal was to correctly complete at least 5 problems in 45 minutes, and every single student did. All 23. Even the students that are failing. Even the students who are absent at least one day a week. Even the students who are usually on their phones or talking to people across the classroom or trying to sleep. Even the student who came from another school less than a week ago and didn’t understand anything we did in the last week of review. Every single student got at least 5 problems right that day.
The pride in some students was palpable. Those struggling kids who normally try so hard to be disengaged couldn’t stop smiling every time I told them they got one right. And it was exhausting, to be zooming around my classroom checking answers for 3 blocks. And I felt bad that I didn’t have much time (if any) to stop and help students who were struggling (thank God for other students finishing early and not wanting to do more of their own problems…). But to see a girl who normally says “I can’t do this.” and resorts to doodling every day be so successful was worth it.
Days like that are worth it. Even if it’s not a whole day, blocks like that are worth it. And even if it’s not a whole block, moments like that are worth it. The success of my students will always be worth it, and that’s why I won’t quit.