“I hope when you are done with all your years of schooling, you look back and put Mr. Bacchus in your Top 5. I don’t need to be your number 1 teacher of all time but hopefully one day you will look back and say I was in your Top 5”
There is no way of ever knowing if this will be the case or not but it is one of the goals I set for myself every year. The hope is that once a former student is done with all of their schooling, they will look back at all their teachers they had and say “Mr. Bacchus is in the top 5.” I don’t need to be number 1 but hopefully somewhere in the top 5.
My goal was no different going into the 2018/2019 school year but if I’m honest, it didn’t feel like my performance last year was Top 5 worthy. The grieving process of losing my mother and other issues faced in 2018/2019 made most days a struggle, and instead of putting forth “top 5” effort it felt like I was putting forward “get through the day” effort.
My patience was shorter than usual and I quickly became irritated and annoyed. Things that usually wouldn’t bother seemed to really upset me and I just didn’t have my usual energy. At the end of the year, I share with my students my “top 5 goal” and in 2018/2019 I explained to them and apologized for not giving Top 5 effort. Several students gave looks that said “it all makes sense.” Especially the students who may have fallen victim to one of my moods. There were more kids told to “go get a drink and come back with a better attitude” than ever before this year. Truth be told, I was the one who often needed to go get a drink and come back with a better attitude.
One thing I did take away from last year, and will keep in the front of my mind this school year, is that “you never know what someone is going through.” Life can be hard and we all try to handle it in the best way we can but sometimes our struggles in one area of life seep over into other areas of life. As I tried but failed to not let my struggles seep into my teaching, I couldn’t help but think about what may be going on in my students’ lives that may be impacting their behavior. Are their parents divorcing? Did they lose a loved one? Is someone in their family dealing with addiction? The list could go on forever and I may never truly know what my students are dealing with outside of the classroom and how it is impacting them inside of the classroom.
The reality is “you never know what someone is going through” and before we are so quick to condemn them and their actions we should be more understanding and willing to acknowledge that they may be dealing with some stuff. The 2019/2020 school year is underway and I am in a much better place than I was last year but will remember that some of my students, coworkers, and honestly anyone I come across may be in a place like I was the year before. They may want to give “Top 5” effort but may not be in a place to do that and I should be more understanding of that fact.