I’m not sure how many of you SASSy people out there are Peanuts fans, but I’m one of them. One of my favorite skits of all time is Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown. How she manages to convince him that this time she won’t pull the ball away is beyond me, but it’s heart-wrenching to watch him slowly build up enthusiasm only to have it all come crashing down on his head at the last second.
What’s even worse is that I have apparently not learned any life lessons from watching that cartoon hundreds of times. Each and every semester I get excited, hopeful, and inspired to do great and important things and each and every semester my hopes are dashed to millions of pieces by the awesomely uninspiring (pick one) abilities, attitudes, expectations, vocabulary, or mouth-breathing of my students.
As a perfect example this morning two mostly upright mouth-breathing students sloped into my room and stood staring around blankly for a quality ten seconds. After my bright “Good Morning!” they blearily looked in my general direction without making eye contact and responded with, “Is this class fun?”
Needless to say this effectively squashed my enthusiasm for the new semester and sent the Rageometer swinging towards the Red Zone. First period hadn’t even started yet!
What latent masochism drives me to repeat this endless and self destructive cycle of hope and despair? Are all teachers tormented by the ghosts of semesters that Could Be?
If this is a widespread phenomenon then Crisis Counselors should be available to the teaching staff during the first week of new semesters to help us cope with the emotional turmoil and abject despair. Sure the hoagies and “Teacher Appreciation” events are nice, but like fat kids with a sugar free cake, our smiles are only skin deep.
But go ahead and get excited about the new semester, folks! Your students might be cheerful, enthusiastic, motivated, and have functioning sinuses! I suppose it’s better to have hope for a day than to live in soul-crushing numbness and cynicism all the time.