Are We Having Fun Yet?

Not so long ago I was a first year teacher, struggling to through each day. I chronicled that experience here on this blog, mostly to keep my friends and family up to date on how it was going. The stories weren't very fun for them to read, and it prompted my uncle in his matter-of-fact way to instruct me to relax. It was clear to him that I wasn't having much fun teaching, and if that was the case, he wondered, what's the point?

I'm now halfway through my fourth year of teaching, and my friends and family may still find my writing painful, although perhaps for different reasons. In any case, as I discuss the challenges of my students and the frustrations of my own failure, the question might still remain: Am I having any fun?

The truth is, I do put a lot of pressure on myself. I am perhaps the harshest critic of my teaching, and I often feel like my work is practically a matter of life and death. I want to help my students be better readers, better writers, better communicators and better critical thinkers, because I want them to be able to succeed. I want them to be able to grasp every opportunity they can find. The stress of this pressure isn't very fun to live with day to day.

But, in the classroom? If I've let those frustrations and anxieties creep into my teaching recently, reflecting on my uncle's advice from my first year has served as a wake up call. Creating a joyful classroom has been an ongoing goal of my teaching. But I need to remember that if I'm having fun, it's more likely the kids will too. So...with this in mind, I'm taking a deep breath and reminding myself that while my goals may be serious, my teaching doesn't need to be.


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