Typically, I am not given to ranting or free range venting. My protests (outside the home, mind you) tend to be measured, tempered, and demonstrate some degree of control. Often that can make life kinda tough. Because I would really rather “fly off the handle” than keep my counsel and breathe deeply ten more times.
This is one of those days, possibly one of those weeks. My students are out to lunch. They are marching to the beat of their own drums. They are not listening, not following directions, not meeting my lofty expectations. And it’s annoying. No, it’s exhausting. And demoralizing and stressful. I’m cranky, impatient, curt, and short-tempered.
If you feel like you “know” me because you’ve read previous posts or follow my tweets, this perhaps doesn’t sound like me but let me assure you – it absolutely is me. As much as I enjoy being generous, kind, supportive and patient when I can, there are also plenty of times when I simply cannot. When I can’t even.
While I was reading the riot act to 6 and 7 year olds today I realized that I sound like a real curmudgeon: grumpy, surly and sour. Then it dawned on me: Perhaps I am a curmudgeon. A meanie, stuck-in-the-mud party pooper – prepared to rain on anyone’s day at will. That’s what it feels like, what I feel like.
Then there’s that moment when I looked back at that boisterous line of 2nd graders and see that girl with the long bright red hair holding the ends in her fist and placing it under her chin, giving her the brief semblance of sporting a long and red beard – then the humor makes a fleeting comeback. Or while clearing mats I remembered an age-old activity that I haven’t done in years but fits perfectly with this group and they love it. This softens the heart again.
The reality is this: The curmudgeon and I are one. The curmudgeon is in me, is part of who I am. That means the curmudgeon shows up in my classroom. The curmudgeon in me is allergic to power challenges, resists change that is not self-initiated, and responds unfavorably when others do not do what they are told! (There’s that power thing again.) My curmudgeon has aged with me but is even more set in her ways, more bent on being right, far less interested in you and your compromises.
That’s it. Unvarnished truth. A relief and a risk at the same time. Reality is often tricky that way. But the curmudgeon doesn’t care. And I do.