Why Can’t I Be Superhuman?

Hello out there,

Today concludes another day of teaching and another day of feeling like I’ve failed in a few small ways. I also succeeded, such as when I confiscated a student of mine’s Mass pamphlet before he had the chance to create an Oragami swan. A couple weeks back he made a little boat and while I told him I was impressed by his paper-folding skills, it wasn’t acceptable during Mass. 

I just felt like I was tripping over my own feet today. I came into work late (had to get blood drawn, ick) and so this morning felt discombobulated and rushed to begin with. As I moved around the room checking the Emily Dickinson homework assignment in my one junior class, I could nearly feel the confusion sucking the air out of the room. I paused and scanned the 23 faces I’ve come to know well since September. I saw palms of hands pressed against foreheads, fingers snarled through hair, and teenagers sitting in their seats, staring at their incorrectly done homework assignment as if it was a plate of brussel sprouts they were being forced to eat. 

And I felt red in the face, flustered and agitated with myself for their lack of understanding.  Then I looked over at the clock, my enemy, and saw that we had about eleven minutes of class left. Everything was suddenly happening too quickly and I thought I saw the room spin. 

“Let’s stop,” I said. “I’m putting the breaks on tonight’s homework.”

A few kids exchanged shocked looks. 

“I don’t feel comfortable moving forward before we’ve really understood these things first.”

I saw some nods. 

“That alright with everyone?”

And I heard the sighs of relief. I swear to you. The room stopped spinning and I no longer felt like I was breathing at a 50,000 foot altitude. I moved over to the whiteboard and re-taught the homework assignment.

Writing this, I guess I didn’t fail as badly as I thought.