June Post

As I mentioned in my last post, I seem to have lost any sense of creativity for blogging.
Part of it is just being worn out. June is always challenging, but this year seemed more intense than usual.

That said, I always end the year grateful for my time with my students. There really isn’t a better job in the world. I have read through close to 200 year end journal entries over the past few days and wow – what a collision of personalities and experiences.

I wonder sometimes if parents really think about how hard it is for their kid to spend all day with 27 or 28 other people, in a small room (often without a window, always without air circulation), trying to pay attention to what they are supposed to be paying attention to.

With the provincial election coming in 2019, the rhetoric against teachers is ramping up. But I really hope people really look at what’s happening in kids’ lives these days. They are pulled in so many directions (some kids referenced wanting to get straight As, then others referenced being asked to “send nudes.” Some students are as young as twelve.

It’s a little disheartening for me to see people complaining about low math scores when this is what kids are dealing with. Pressure from parents to do well, pressure from friends to share personal pictures and information. Then some teacher says “hey, hand in this assignment.” So many times this year I had to get through the arguments on social media, or the shoving in the hallway, or the straight up disrespect of students to even start talking about subjects and predicates.

Here’s the kind of thing that I hold on to. Seeing a kid finally control his temper. Spending time with a student who just needs to talk, and realizing how much these kids carry.

Watching shy, nervous, unsure students perform slam poetry. Cheering on students too cool to look me in the eye during pep rallies. Winning the home room challenge. Hanging up a pride flag in my classroom.

Or reading a letter from a girl who said English was her worst subject, but that “something clicked” when I read Word Nerd to the class and now she reads every night.

There were so many missed opportunities and little failures this year – sometimes it’s easy to dwell on them, and not notice the good on the other side of the scale. Hopefully I learn from my failures and do better next year.

I’ve been writing more, and have a few things shaping up. It takes a lot of time, I find, to get my work to where I am okay (never comfortable) with sending it out. I’m looking forward to summer to work on my novel and to get that damned non-fiction piece that’s been gnawing at me done.

If I hit my deadlines over the next week or so, I will be in good shape to start submitting work in September. Depending on how things shake out, I may have a first draft of my novel by January. Or, a good start on a non-fiction collection. Or, some random blogs, posted at the very last minute each month.

Song: Love Lana Del Rey

Book: The Conjoined Jen Sookfong Lee

Run: Nope, but I bought a new running bra, so, soon!

Leave a Reply

  1. Great post, Kim. Every parent should spend a week trying to teach a different group of kids (all 28 to 40 of them) every 45 minutes, just to see what teachers face every day. The issues you mention are in addition to preparing interesting lessons, given the existing curriculum and resources, and delivering them to a group of kids with myriad learning strategies and abilities and person issues. It’s not an easy job and teachers who are really applying themselves and care about standards of teaching and their students’ futures are working their tails off. I wish my kids had someone like you for all of their classes throughout their public-education experiences. They did have a number of terrific teachers, but they also had to endure disengaged, disinterested, and poorly trained teachers, year after year. Good luck with your writing. I finally got my novel published in 2014 (the one I had started before our Humber School for Writers course – I think you were in that one with Susan Toy, or did you join our little on-line (now disbanded) group later?). I am presently writing the sequel, putting bum in seat and trying my best to push through the distractions and writers block.
    I look forward to your posts.
    All the best,
    Glenna Jenkins

    • Thanks Glenna!
      Congrats on the novel – and a sequel! YAY! I was in that group with Susan. It was a really great group of women. (I mean, the women are all still great! The group, I mean!)
      Bum in seat is such good advice. I find I can do it for a few minutes, then I get up and water my flowers, or read a few pages of a book…slowly but surely, I guess…I hope.