The Subtle Richter Scale of Teaching

Some days as a teacher, you walk into a classroom and are greeted with smiles or a spontaneous compliment.

Sometimes students greet you in the hallway with sincerity or they even learn something in your lesson and you feel the nudge that reminds you of why you became a teacher.

Some days you hear your brightest student feel the depth of his cleverness and exert his confidence to make a racist joke.

Some days, you walk into a classroom more exhausted than the students and want to be there less than they do.

Some days you wonder if you've chosen the right path of instruction for your class and wonder if they'd be leaning more from a different teacher in a different situation.

But those are only some of the days.  Every day, there's a choice.  Whether exhausted or cheery, whether distracted by personal affairs or glowing in being a teacher, whether prepared or flying about spontaneously, there's the choice of reaction--that same choice that students are constantly reminded of by teachers.  We get to choose how we react.

Today wasn't a golden or gloomy day.  I went to work a bit tired, a bit nonplussed, but with full awareness that whatever positive or negative energies I put out there were going to pervade my students' day.  They would draw their interest or disinterest in the material from me.  I was going to have to make them believe I was sincere in saying the instruction they were getting that day was valuable in life.

The level of success in any of those things today is undetermined and unmeasurable.  I do know that I made some students smile, some laugh, some jump, some roll their eyes.  I had moments of eloquence and blundering.  Moments of smiling and a few hours with a spot of coffee on my nose.

I also know that I'm still tired, which is why the literature teacher is going to pull out a book and go to bed early, so she can hopefully smile a bit more brightly tomorrow.


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