Amanda and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad November Monday

Amanda and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad November Monday
(With apologies to Judith Viorst)

I left my office without my binder and then I had to run up to get it. And when I got to Grade 9 English class, no one was in their seat and, to make matters worse, the EA was running late. I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad November Monday.

During sit and read time, students stood and talked. And during stand and talk time, they were too tired to get out of their seats. They went to the bathroom and played on their phones and needed to see me in the hall – urgently. Someone threw a spitball. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad November Monday.

During writing time they couldn’t find their notebooks or their pencils… even when I gave them notebooks and pencils. They couldn’t read the sentence starter on the board and couldn’t think of what to write on the paper… even though we’d just discussed the entire topic. It was definitely a a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad November Monday.

I asked them to sit down. I asked them to put their phones away. I asked them to at least talk quietly. No one even listened. I wished it were a sunny Thursday in May.

I’ve tried teaching Spiderman, but they wanted a different version. I’ve tried graphic novels, but they only want to read them on their own. I’ve even tried letter writing. They don’t write letters. I could tell we’d reached a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad November Monday.

I could tell because I’ve begun doubting my teaching. I’m not planning enough, and I’m moving too fast, or maybe too slowly. I’m only a third-rate teacher and I need to improve my classroom management. “I need you to stop acting like 5-year-olds” I said to the class. “I need you to actually do your work before some Thursday in May!”

In our office, one colleague has finished her report cards, and another has finished her marking. One has evening plans with her family. Guess who has to finish report cards and drive her own children to parkour in the snow? No doubt about it: it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad November Monday.

There were late essays to mark, and I hate marking. There were comments to write, and I hate comments. My children were loud and my tea got cold and I had to drive home in the snow. I hate driving in the snow.

It was definitely a a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad November Monday. But I know some days are like that, even some Thursdays in May.

 

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15 thoughts on “Amanda and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad November Monday

  1. Amanda, I love the creative structure to your piece although I regret the day that inspired it. As one of my commenters noted recently, ““Some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you.” – Davy Crockett. Those kind of days happen to all of us and they can just suck the lifeblood out of you. Hang in there and remember, as you reminded me, to celebrate that the students are there. Try to put it in perspective with all the other days that weren’t “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad.” I’m betting that tomorrow will be a better day. Hugs!

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    1. Yesterday was a snow day & one of my worst Monday offenders showed up AND did some work. Kids are funny like that. I love the Davy Crockett saying. Might have to hang it in my classroom 😉

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  2. Hah!!! I’m SO SORRY about your terrible, horrible, no good, very bad November Monday. But THANK YOU for this post! I need to share it with some of my colleagues as soon as I finish this comment! Thanks for the humor and perspective.
    Jan
    Laughter and Consistency

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  3. I have felt this way for sure! We skipped after school activities tonight because of the same feeling! And yes, today I wrote about what a great day I had on Friday. LOL. Teaching is never boring.

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  4. My children were loud and my tea got cold and I had to drive home in the snow.” I love this line! The three images with sound, and touch, and travel. The joy of the book and the way that you followed this same style is so effective. It took me back to the time when I read this to my youngest – a lovely way to close the day. 🙂

    And, you make the worst day amazing for your students!

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  5. Oh boy! I left this post feeling frustrated and exhausted, but also laughing out loud at some of the lines – During sit and read time, students stood and talked. And during stand and talk time, they were too tired to get out of their seats. This does sound like a terrible, horrible, no good day, and one that all teachers have experienced. We are with you, and we know that you are bound to have a super, fantastic, wonderful,very good day very very soon. I hope you write about that too!

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  6. I LOVED your writing (great format), but I hope that you don’t have many more days like this! It can be easy to doubt your own teaching… Keep reflecting and showing up as your best self-and I am confident that you will be an amazing teacher for your students!

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  7. I felt this! Also, both of my classes were so unresponsive yesterday and I actually had to tell one class to stop talking while I was saying words. Maybe it’s something in the air?

    Also, I am behind on everything and real life is real and I may never catch up. (I always catch up, but I still feel like it’s a pipe dream.)

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  8. Your humor-filled post made me smile this cold morning at the state capital before I set out to a state education conference. Snow on top of noisy students shed light on a day that was as mixed up as Alexander’s. Teachers do have days like this but then, there are the stellar days of learning. Being a reflective teacher is what gets teachers through the gray days and on to sunny end-of-school year days. Today is thankful Thursday so perhaps the day will unfold with thanks for learning.

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  9. I just love how you wrote about a not-so-good day. I hope that more teachers will read this and realize it’s not all amazing lessons, compliant students, and lightbulb moments. Some days we nail it, and some we don’t; it’s the nature of the business.
    I hope you had a terrific Tuesday. And if you didn’t…I’m reading a book about teacher exhaustion, and at a chapter where he is stating that sleep and healthy food do wonders. Hope you get plenty of both in these coming days.

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