The Autumnal Equinox has arrived. The day was lovely and cool, rainy in the morning. The day was spent at school, but homemade mint brownies were waiting at home. Much appreciated treat.

And we met parents today for conferences. Very nice. More come tomorrow, I hope. You learn a lot about your students from their parents. I make my students do the work. I give them their folder of work and tell them to show their parents their work so far. They turn through all of their papers and their parents get to see e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Nothing can’t hide! They already know their child’s grade. Now they know why.

You really just want to do everything to help your fine students. But they have to want it and help themselves, too. Those are the students that frustrate and irritate you. Especially when you know they are and can be brilliant (because you’ve seen hints of it); they just need to actually WORK and CARE. Some just don’t. Which is frustrating. Why don’t they even bother to pick up the pencil and write their name? Do they not care that they fail? And why not? Ninth grade is quite young for apathy in the grading area. Especially at the beginning of the year. It’s their first year of high school. I had hoped they’d want to start a new year, new school, new grade with a better attitude than they apparently brought with them from junior high. And show a BIT more interest in the beginning of they year. Maybe they’re testing me, us.

We’ve had our first storming out (me, who needed a one-minute time out) and our first near classroom brawl that I had to break up. Sigh. Kids.

On the up-side:

Two of our students made me crack-up in near uncontrollable giggles by whatever it was they said or did. (Honestly, I think it was how they were giggling about whatever that finally set me off.) I realized as I laughed outright at them that I had not laughed like that yet in any of my classes. So they glanced at me for a second through their own tears and I told them they should get an extra point today for making me laugh since no one had done it yet. I could honestly tell them it was a good day with them. And we needed a good day with them.

One of my students who transferred into my class commented that my class was much better than the one she had been in. (WOW!) And her mum agreed.

Another fine student of mine was impressed with the way I tell them their current grade and any missing assignments on a sticky note in their folder about a week before midterms. He said that I was the most organized teacher he knew with this “thing.” Not that he was thrilled with his grade, but he knew what it was and how to fix it!

My school mentor observed one of my classes. While sitting in a meeting with me and the vice principal, he paid me a great compliment when told the VP that the class may be challenging (behavior-wise), but the instruction was great.

One of my students said that I remind her of Professor McGonagall, and her friend introduced me to her parents with, “This is Mrs. E. Doesn’t she look like she should be in Harry Potter?” Cool.

I learned/had reinforced:

Parents love their kids and are also on your side, especially when they know you are on theirs. We want the same thing—their children to do well and to help them get there.

Parents like it and know when you are genuine.

Hang out with the other teachers at school. Especially if your classroom is across the street from campus. It helps you feel part of the school. And lets you talk to people! And your students see you more! Lucky them! And they say hi! And call you by name!!! And you get to do the same!!!

Be nice to everyone. They are somebody’s parent. Or know the parent of that student of yours.

I love my students. ALL of them. Even those hard ones. Honestly. The challenge is teaching others (including their fellow students) to feel the same way you do, and help each other reach their potential.

Happy Equinox!