I Can Do This… once I pull my head out of my butt.

Image for post
Image for post
The view from inside.

I sent an apology email this week to my coworkers. I haven’t been pleasant to work with.

“I have this thing wrong with me,” the email read, “I mean, I have lots of things wrong with me, but I have this particular one… when things are going bad, I need to get my head all the way up my butt, like really fully in there, before I recognize it’s a problem.”

The email said other stuff, but that was the main idea. I’d been reading too many of the reasons this is hard as somehow directed at me. It had been so long since anyone had asked how I was doing that I was, I think, finding ways to let them all know that I wasn’t great.

I’d been looking for someone to blame for this, for any of this, because enemies are easier than aimless rage.

I’ve begun the process of de-heading my butt. It is slow going, because nothing has actually gotten any better. I’m still not in a good place, but I’m trying not to take that out on anyone. No one’s having fun with this. No one needs me making it harder.

I’ve been carrying another apology in me all week, this one to my students. I’ve not been the best teacher.

If hours were the only measure, I’d be doing great.

If struggle and concern, if my sleepless nights were what they needed, my students would be fine. If waves of anxiety could teach, my students would be thriving.

I know I’m doing my best, and I want to do better. I know I can’t do more, but I hope I can do different.

I’m boring the shit out of my students. I know it. And this isn’t the kind of boredom that games make better. The learning is boring, the stuff that’s the most important.

Their good enough and just get it done is being met with my show me some work and prove you showed up today. We are both trading this sucks but we have to do it anyway back and forth over Google Classroom. I know it can be better than that.

This weekend I’m taking a step back. I’m going to worry less about why I’m angry, going to worry less about all the trappings of online lessons, going to think about how I can do less and do better, how I can do something closer to what I want in the situation that we have.

I want them on fire about the way that words work together. I want them to read and watch and listen to the works of brilliant minds and meet it with their own brilliance. I want them learning, not working.

I’m sick of administering online lessons. I want to teach again. I have some hope I can figure out how, and as long as I’m trying, I won’t need to apologize.

Author of ‘It Won’t Be Easy.’ 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. @mrtomrad on everything. www.mrtomrad.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store