As a first year teacher, my primary goal was to make my students happy. To do so, I tried to be awesome... a lot. Be funny. Have intricate handshakes with six different students. Teach entire classes with a Scottish accent. Play Eminem Pandora on the sound system while they were working.
And more than anything else, I did everything in my power to NOT let my class be boring.
I thought about it like this: If they get bored, they stop liking me; and if they stop liking me, they stop liking my class; and if they stop liking my class, they will lose all inspiration to succeed in life and end up in a van down by the river.
Honestly, boredom was my biggest fear and I thought their boredom signified that I failed them.
And this fear and belief was very taxing. It takes a significant amount of work and energy to make sure 31 students are having fun 100% of the time. I am learning that maintaining this kind of energy is not realistic for me.
However more importantly,
it's not realistic for them.
To me, life is an adventure and often times it is very exciting and FUN. However, doing taxes isn't exciting, it's actually quite boring. Filling up my gas tank is not very fun. Going to the doctor isn't fun. School improvement meetings aren't fun. GRADING PAPERS IS NOT FUN.
The truth is, life can be boring.
And that's okay.
There are things we must do in-between those moments that are memorable and exciting. The things that make paying bills and taking your dog to the vet worth it. I want as many of these exciting events in my life as I can.
And I want them in my classroom a lot too.
I still play Eminem on Pandora while my students work (Content filter: NOT explicit). I still convince 14 year-olds to read their poetry at public open mic nights. You better believe I still represent my Scottish heritage with my dialect.
But I also have them sit in silence and research the history of South African diamond mines. And drill in the concepts of simple and compound sentences. And take tests that let me know if they learned anything from our class time together.
And it is in these moments where students push through the boredom because they know that what they are learning is good, and meaningful, and will have an impact on their lives- that I can sit back and be proud of the work that I am doing- even if it is a little boring.