One of my most aggressive and disruptive students had a really good day yesterday. Later that night, as I was reflecting back on the day, I realized that I couldn’t even remember all the frustrating and annoying stunts his classmates had pulled, all the blank looks and random noises and disrespectful comments. The one moment of him tugging on my arm at the end of class to proudly point out that he hadn’t gotten a single “minus” that day shone so brightly that all the rest became dim.
As a teacher, it can be tempting to anchor my worth in the performance of my students, but that is unhealthy for everyone. It sets me up for disappointment and sets my students up to frustrate me.
But it is valuable to recognize and revel in the breakthroughs. I do believe in that.