We practiced a prompt this week that was: "Write a composition about a time you found something." The responses I recieved were painful.
I do have to say though, that there are times that I feel on top of the world and like the most successful teacher in the world. This is when I receive paragraphs like this on my desk:
See how this is brilliant? A nine year old wrote this! I am proud to be this student's writing teacher in this moment.
Letting my face fall into my pillow, I sighed deeply. My sister gave me a look and then suggested that we go for a walk. We stepped out the front door and watched sprinklers spin as they spat out water. We listened to the birds chirp their songs, their feet clenched around the branches. As the sunshine and cool breeze hit me, I found a happiness inside of me.
However, my success isn't just defined by the gold mine paragraphs that I receive only every so often. They are also defined by the moments where I wonder if I've spoken a different language all year long. Yesterday was one of those days that my students forgot capitalization, punctuation, sentence structure...basically everything. And not just a handful of students. ALL of them!
I had a long "speech" with them about how I was dissapointed in them and how I expected so much more from them. They left my class quiet and I secretly hoped that they were disappointed in themselves as well. Of course, I couldn't know how my speech affected them, even though I would have given anything to jump inside their thoughts for a few minutes. Undoubtedly, they were probably hearing another language, Charlie Brown's teacher, or most likely even thinking about what they were going to be doing after school. Certainly they wouldn't have given much thought to what I said, because most days, they dont. At least I felt better about getting it off of my chest.
That is, until I recieved this on my desk today.
Dear Mrs. Neal,
The story I am going to write on the test day is the Rollercoaster story, and I also apologize for being so dumb that I can't figure out what story I'm supposed to right. Every school morning, I take brain pills, but it looks like there not doing it. So what I'll do is talk to my mom about it so we can work this out.
And this, my friends, is why I love my job. Aside from the misspelled words here and there (write, ironically misspelled only once), this student's opening, closing, correct comma usage, and word choice had me in tears.