Love my kids. Truly. It is they who make my day, the reasons I do what I do. But sometimes I do not like their behavior, and the little stinkers make me grumpy. Yesterday, 6th period, I got a little grumpy in response to some inconsiderate behavior during a film, and in a rare scene in 219, I let that grumpiness–more aptly annoyance–bubble to the surface, and I assumed a different role: Stern Syrie. The kids are used to Simple Syrie, Super Syrie, and even Silly Syrie, but I think some were taken a little aback when Stern Syrie appeared on the stage. To be sure, it is not a role I relish, but it is one I keep in wait and willingly play when the occasion calls.
Yesterday, he made a cameo appearance, a surprise guest whose part changed the narrative of the day, and while it was only a minor part, a brief appearance, it certainly affected the general mood of the class, which was not only unfortunate but also necessary. Unfortunate because a couple of kids left less than happy with me at the end of the day. Necessary because it was a reminder to the kids that their behavior matters and that though there are times when I do want us to be peer-like partners in our learning experiences, there are times when I have to be the adult in the room and set things straight. Fortunately, such times are quite rare in 219, and my kids’ behavior is stellar the other ninety-nine percent of the time.
Of course, I like to believe that is no accident. I work very hard to create that culture through the relationships that I develop with my kids. But I also believe that relationships have to be real, which means–and I tell my kids this early on in the year–that there will be times when I am unhappy with them and times when they are unhappy with me, the mark of any important relationship in our lives. Yesterday was one of those times. And it won’t be the last, and that’s okay. Experience has blessed me with the wisdom of knowing that relationships are investments, and if we make enough deposits, the few withdrawals we have to make won’t drain the account. Today, the show will go on in 219 and Stern Syrie will not have to make an appearance any time soon, maybe even the rest of the year. And that’s great because Super Syrie doesn’t readily share the stage.
Have a great Thursday, all.