Thursday, May 10, 2012

tomorrow will be better

Yesterday, due to exhaustion, laundry backlog and unpacking, I unschooled. 6 yo davened eagerly so he could go out and vacuum the car with Daddy. I turned 8 yo's lack of desire to daven into a meaningful examination of Shema which involved two siddurim and open Chumash. We went to the library, where everyone stocked up on books. The boys typed thank you cards to our Baltimore hosts. They invented quesadillas. We assembled drums.

Today was horrible. The coop in the morning was fine, but i hassled boys into davening  before, which didn't work. 6 yo broke down and did not daven and then he broke down about not davening. This was the last day of the coop. I fallaciously assumed that we'll do judaics in the afternoon. I hissed at them during lunch which was late and they kept asking for more and more food that I was not ready to serve. I wrote down three judaic things each. 6 yo picked Lashon Hatorah and again thanked me for it. 8 yo did Rosetta Stone, but now he's getting to the part where he's not getting all the answers on the first try, so he's getting discouraged. Then he came up to do Lashon HaTorah, but instead of juts doing it, he kept making up weird games by adding up some numbers. I was snapping at him. I should have recognized boredom and disinterest. I sent 6 yo to do Lama, he did quite a bit, but I wanted him to do it faster. Then we did some Rosetta Stone, but he was too embarrassed to show me the spot where he ended. Then I butted heads with 8 yo over chumash. Since we finished perek, I wanted to do review sheets. He did not want to read pesukim or to seek out missing words. He cried. I assigned more. Somehow, that motivated him to do it, but he was not happy.

All in all, this took 2 hours. I knew it could have taken much less, so I was annoyed.

Now that it's quiet, and all kids are in bed, I am thinking about what I have done. I haven't done much good today. I have been damaging the relationships that took a long time to build. I have not accomplished much. I do not feel satisfied. I have failed, both as a parent and as educational facilitator.

All that I can hope is that tomorrow will be better. I wil try to be calmer. I will try to be more in tune with what kids want instead of pushing my agenda. I will give everyone breathing space.

Tomorrow will be better.


  1. Thank you for writing this. I also had a relatively bad teaching day yesterday. One of my colleagues scheduled an observation session - not to evaluate me, but to learn from me. I made the poor decision to cut short the topic I had been learning with my students for over a week (in which they were quite engaged) and starting a new topic. I did this because I felt that this new topic and lesson would be flashier and would make for better observation material. Unfortunately, the abrupt shift in topics alienated the students. In a sorry attempt to make things better, I decided to rush through the facts without giving them time for the new information to sink in. This was bad teaching AND made me look bad. When we finally got to the analysis part, a chaotic mood had already set in. This escalated, and we ended up not even getting to the main part of the lesson.

    I left school discouraged and disappointed with myself. But I think that the attitude you concluded with is proper: recognize what went wrong, and realize that there are worse days and better days.

    Somehow, the knowledge that other teachers go through this experience is comforting. Thank you for sharing!

  2. yes, this happens to the best of us. I congratulate you for your honesty and sharing, because, as the previous commenter said, it is comforting to know that other teachers (and parents!) go through this experience too. Tomorrow will be better!!!!

  3. It happens to everyone -- try not to beat yourself up for that day. In the greater scheme of life, no one will remember those times. Perhaps you can figure out the triggers for you and the children and work on ways to alleviate/avoid the triggers?