When my feet ache

There comes a time everyday that I walk out of Two Rivers Middle School, get in my roasting Ford Focus, and drive home. I wait impatiently for my broken air conditioner to put-put-putter out any cool air it can, and I think back over my day teaching 7th grade geography.

School started last Monday, so today is officially day 8 of 172. Already there have been two substantial fights in our school, and several smaller altercations. One student, I’ll refer to as CT, was in my homeroom class last year, was moved to a “behavior management” classroom this year, and has already been assigned to move to an alternative school. Unfortunately, some “paperwork” has not moved through the system fast enough, so CT is left to roam the 7th grade hallway at will, cussing at students, whistling during my teaching time, and banging on lockers. He walks away when teachers talk to him. He runs away when I talk to him.

And already, on day 8, I’ve heard things that make me realize why I’m doing this. For example:

  • “I feel disrespected when I’m at home.” –student JS during a discussion on respect.
  • “She’s lyin’ on me. That’s why my dad’s in jail, because he got lied on.” –student KS frustrated about rumors spreading around the school about his non-girlfriend.
  • “I mean, because all the other students was looking at me, but I don’t know why they was.” –student CI’s written response while she was evacuated from the classroom after distracting the class from my lesson.
  • “2nd period is my favorite” –student LW on his way into my classroom.
  • “7th grade geography had 85% of its students reach proficiency on TCAP tests. That is higher than TRMS has seen in several years.” –principal WM discussing last year’s TCAP scores.

If I can help JS feel respected, KS learn how to ignore slander, CI learn how to earn positive attention, and keep a smile on LW and WM’s face… then I know I can keep teaching for 164 more days. No matter how badly my feet ache.


Author: Claire

Hi I'm Claire. I am a freelance writer, Vizlsa lover, and avid runner who lives in Nashville, TN. Nice to meet you.

7 thoughts

  1. I'm thinking of you and praying for you, Clarie. I'm so proud of you for being so positive. I had a hard time being that when I was teaching. Can't wait to see you soon! You're awesome and so incredibly strong!

  2. Claire, now you know why I spent Saturday nights with you girls at WP! I just wanted you all to have someone who listened to your worries and tell you I believed in you. I wasn't perfect, but I was someone who cared. That's all it takes! I bet you are a huge blessing in those kids lives…By the way, I'd highly recommend Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg and How to Talk So Kids Can Learn by Faber & Mazlish to all teachers – especially in schools where there is a lot of conflict. Just some things I've studied lately that have really helped me! Hugs, Ariel

  3. This is kind of beautiful. It kind of made me cry? I usually read this kind of stuff in novels, but to think that this stuff goes on right down the hall from me makes me really appreciate teachers like you. Also, I saw BOTH those two fights, and they were HORRIBLE. I don't really see why people fight, children, or adults. I like, almost cried with the first one, and the second one I DEFINITELY did. It was kind of heartbreaking. Thanks for this. It said so much with so little. : ) Hope to talk to you at school soon!Sierra.

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