You want to hear exactly how my life has gone lately? I get this awesome idea for a unit, lesson, etc. I make worksheets, find appropriately leveled books, I organize a craft. I prep my kids for it. I have it all planned out the last final detail. I sit back for a moment to soak in the I-think-I-am-so-awesome glow. This activity is going to be amazing. Some may call it ground breaking. I will be given awards for how much my student learn from one single lesson. And then – crashing me down from my optimistic daydream – just as quickly as you can snap your fingers that perfectly planned and organized activity whips out the window.

Something happens. A meltdown. An obscenely dirty diaper. An unexpected parent visit. Throw up. Aggression. Runner. Doesn’t matter. What matter’s is that you’ve got to deal with it. Before I know it I am pushing my well organized piles of impeccablely individualized work and throwing puzzles on the table. Drama calls. 

It’s frustrating. Frustrating maybe doesn’t even encompass it. I have been having to do some heavy duty self talk therapy lately and talk myself down. It’s alright. You can do the lesson tomorrow. This is your job. Drama is your job. You are the firefighter in this classroom and like it or not – you are on call. Unfortunately in this job description we don’t have the luxury of it being ‘someone else’s problem.’ It’s not. It’s ours.

So if you can relate at all (which I hope some of you can and I’m not swimming alone in this sea of frustration) – take a deep breath. My class did MLK activities after Marin Luther King Day this week. I know. The horror. Well Friday another student had a major meltdown that I had to deal with so my reading group didn’t get to it. But you know what, it was totally okay to work on MLK activities Tues and Wed. What’s the big deal anyways? Is Dr. King not as important after the holiday – absolutely not.

So cut yourself some slack and write your lesson plans in pencil. Because chances are you will be changing them. Time to put on our flexibility pants and keep going. 

Sasha Long
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