It was the day before our two-week break. We were going to turn in all books so we didn't need to keep track of them and remember them after the break. Well, a forgotten book happens. What can we do about it now?
"Okay," I said. "Remember to bring it back after the break."
I moved on throughout the room to assist with work and other questions. When I moved back to my friend a few minutes later, he sat with his head in his hands. He was whispering something. He was not doing his work.
I thought he was struggling with the work. "What is it, E?" I asked.
"My life is ruined," he said softly.
"Your life is ruined?"
"Yes," he said solemnly. "My life is ruined. I forgot my library book."
I leaned in close to him. "Don't worry about that. It is okay." He looked skeptical. I continued. "I will be at school tomorrow for a planning day. If you and Mom are out tomorrow, stop by the school and give me the book. I will take it to the library."
He thought for a minute, smiled, and began working.
His life ruined over a forgotten library book? I smiled at the thought later. But how many times do I think the same thing when something goes a little crazy in the classroom?
This didn't work. The day is shot. My teaching is bad. I'm terrible at this. My professional life is ruined.
I take my teaching responsibilities seriously. I want kids to succeed and excel. I want my classroom to be a place where they fall in love with learning. But it's not that all the time. I make mistakes. I fail.
But we can all learn from it. E did not bring me his book on my planning day. I hope he does not worry about it all during the break. I hope he dropped it into his backpack, ready for school when we start again.
And I'm going to drop some of my anxieties and worries. I'll still work to have the best class I can at this point. But I know that, even on the challenging days, my life isn't ruined. In fact, I can almost say it's never been better.