“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge” -Albert Einstein

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Today was a better day by about one million and one times. I have so amazing people in my life that care about me so much. Thank you to those of you who sent encouraging texts and words my way, you’ll never know how much I appreciate it.

Today, I realized how defensive my students are of me. There are still students that are hesitant to open up to me and skeptical of me, (mostly the girls) but those who have let me into their lives have really let me into their lives. One student in particular stands up for me when the room gets out of control and tells the other students, “HEY! Be quiet! Miss Gray is talking!” and the room goes silent. He comes up to me after class and says “I’m sorry we were being bad, Miss Gray. I tried.” BAAAAAAH I love them. I love their eagerness to help me. If I ever drop my pen or papers, there are a dozen students on the ground within seconds trying to pick it up. It’s moments like those and the simple “Good morning,” “Thank you” and “Have a good day Miss Gray!” moments that let me know I’m doing okay.

In our book, there is a scene where the main character gets whipped because he was caught spying on a guard and a Polish girl having sex when he wasn’t supposed to be there. I asked the class, “Why does Elie get whipped?” and a student raises his had and answers, “Because…Elie saw the guard and some Polish chick… shackin’ up.” …I lost it. And so did the rest of the class. My abs hurt after that one. I got the quizzes back that asked that same question and 90% of them said “Because he caught the guard and the Polish chick shacking up” …sigh. The student who initially said that wrote, “Because he got caught seeing the guard and the Polish girl knocking boots!” I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone under the age of 80 use that phrase. I love their personalities and their sense of humor. I know it’s a bad day when my classroom isn’t filled with laughter at least every ten minutes.

After the high school today, I decided, for the first time in grad school, that I’m not going to class. I skipped both of my classes and caught up on grading and my lesson for tomorrow (and ok, maybe I watched a couple of episodes on Freaks and Geeks)  WOO! It feels so good to take time for myself. I needed it. Tomorrow, my kids take their very last quiz on the book! I can’t believe it’s already over. They have worked so hard and have gained so much from this book. Way more than I ever expected them to. Monday and Tuesday, they take their final exam! WE GOT THIS! …but thank goodness tomorrow is Friday. Fingers crossed for another good day!

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