It's amazing what being "on" for several hours in a row will do for my subconscious. For people that might not be teachers, I define being "on" as: managing a classroom, observing kids all the time, intervening when something is about to happen, teaching lessons, asking questions, handing someone a squeezey ball just before they're about to flip, adjusting the rules to a game to make it more accessible for a student, writing a word upside down to model for a child who needs it, and about a zillion and one other things that a teacher does in a single day (sometimes in a single hour).
Being on for a full day is exhausting and awesome and awful in lots of different ways (and I have another half-written post about it), but for this post I've been thinking a lot about some of the positive aspects of it.
Here's one: over the past week or so I've been dealing with something really difficult in my personal life. It's big and sad and I think about it a lot at night and on the weekends. But during the school day I just don't have time. My students walk through the door with stories and smiles and when they're there I kick right into teacher mode. I don't even mind teacher mode -- I like it! I like hearing these stories, laughing about someone's dog getting out when they're trying to give him a bath. I like pulling groups for guided reading and watching my students read and work on fluency and expression. I like conferencing with young writers, marvelling at how their handwriting and spelling can change in such a short period of time, laughing at glorious word choices, and watching them think seriously about how to make their book clear enough for another person to read. I like watching them wrestle with math concepts and try things that don't work and then try again and again.
I like teaching.
Then, at the end of the day, when I'm exhausted and smiling with a new student story from the day, I realize I haven't spent any time obsessing about what's bothering me. I realize that these children have given me an amazing respite from difficulty.
For that, I am overwhelmingly grateful.