Kid compliments are awesome.
I don't know why, but they really matter.
Especially in March.
The long slog to spring break is rough.
Everyone is at wit's end.
And it is easy, really really easy, to get frustrated.
It is really easy to let your nerves fray.
It is even easier to overlook a lot of good things.
Then a kid says something that just makes your day.
Like, one day last week, I was quite aggravated with my fourth hour.
My fifth hour came in and I was snippy.
It felt to me like I was being an unreasonable meanie.
I tried not to take out my irritation on them.
But it felt like I failed.
As the hour concluded, the students packed up.
My co-teacher was absent and her sub was a retired teacher with whom I have always been friendly.
She complimented the class on their enthusiasm and behavior.
I responded by saying "They are very understanding on days like today when I take out my fourth hour frustrations on them."
She responded by saying she could tell I was irritable, but not in a bad mood.
At that moment, one of my students who was standing nearby chimed in:
"Wait," he said, looking startled, "you were in a bad mood today?"
"Well, yeah, kinda. My last class got on my nerves."
"Really? I couldn't tell at all. You were nice and smiling."
I said thank you and the bell rang.
It was sweet and really made me feel better.
I try to compartmentalize.
I play a pretty good fake it til ya make it game.
No doubt, it is nice to hear that it might be working.
That week I had two even briefer such moments.
After school, a student of mine and a friend were escorted to my room by the hall supervisor.
They asked for permission to sit and work in my space.
Of course, I said yes.
The young lady looked around as she sat down and said, "This looks like a comfortable room to work in!"
"Thanks," I responded and watched my student smile and nod.
Later, as they packed up to leave, I was talking to my student.
The friend asked me if I taught English.
I do and I said so.
She said, "Why all the English teachers in this school seem cool and like they care?"
I smiled and shrugged and she muttered, "Not like the other subjects..."
That was both distressing and flattering.
Flattering won out and I said thank you and told her it was because my department is full of rock stars.
A few minutes later, I was helping another student.
He stopped me mid-sentence and said "Ms. Hirsch, you so quirky. You like the fun, silliest teacher."
"Thanks" I grinned.
He didn't say anything else, but he gave me a real puzzled look.
Somehow, I think he thought I might be offended.
Nope. Not even a little.
Enthusiasm and silliness and care and positivity are things I think are catching.
At least a few kids seem susceptible.
And a very few let me know this is so.
Especially in March, that reassurance is a super extra good thing.