Back From Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has come and gone, marking off the first third of the year, or so.  Break has been relaxing, but entirely too short to energize me for the 3 1/2 weeks until Christmas.

The state of my classroom this so far is improved, but unsatisfactory.  I am breaking things down to the simplest possible steps, but still many of my students aren’t executing.  It’s frustrating to put energy into planning lessons that just aren’t going anywhere.  I really don’t know what it would take to get my students to exhibit the motivation to switch into a higher gear of performance.  I’m so tired of spoonfeeding kids Then there’s a small handful of students who throw the whole operation off when they show up.  At this point, this group is only about 10 percent of the kids I teach, but I’m out of patience with them.  I won’t tolerate them throwing off the marginal progress I’m making with the rest of the kids.  But this is all basically old news.

What’s new lately is that I am now an assistant coach for the JV basketball team.  This has been an interesting experience.  In general, it’s been a lot of fun, but I experience some of the same frustrations as I do on a daily basis in class.  Kids generally don’t believe that we adults know what we’re talking about, and they have no apparent concept of how hard they really need to work to be successful.  Fortunately, unlike in class, they will get the chance to see the fruits of their labor every few days when we play games against some pretty hardcore teams.  Hopefully, getting stomped by the staff in the student-faculty game last Wednesday has taught them a lesson.  I’m anxious to see who among the players is going to persevere as we demand more and who is going to lead.

I am quite grateful that we have Coach Mitchell as head coach.  I think he brings an intensity that I really just don’t have, and he seems really knowledgeable about coaching and city athletics.  Plus, I don’t have the time or energy for a lot of the work he has taken on.  Also, he seems to have a better natural authority over the players.  The one day he was out and I had to lead practice was a nightmare.  Much like in my own classroom, I have trouble asserting my authority on the court, which unsettles me.  It makes me feel like maybe there’s something flawed about me personally that makes me a weak leader.  I don’t know.

Anyway, it’s back to the grind.  Christmas break is a real break, and I’m looking forward to being able to forget about my job for a full week.  On the bright side, when I look back a year, the late-November/early-December was an absolutely horrible time for me.  This year, I’ve got a lot of basketball to look forward to, homecoming, and plenty of out of school activities with my friends and my fabulous girlfriend to look forward to.  On the whole, I am in way better shape!

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