I had a love hate relationship with the seesaw growing up. I loved riding with people who understood how the seesaw worked because you could get a rhythm going. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. Nice and even. I hated it when some of the boys wanted to join the ride. They loved to push off as hard as they could. Sometimes they would push off with so much strength and speed the seesaw with slam into the ground. But the worst was when you sat on the seesaw alone because no one wanted to play with you. I really hated the seesaw then.
Most of the time that is how my day at work is like a good seesaw ride. A good teaching moment here and there with a few unfocused students mixed in there. Ups and downs that tend to balance each other out at the end of the day. Today wasn't like that at all. It got off to a great start but went downhill in the afternoon. I left feeling like I was sitting on the seesaw alone.
The seesaw is no fun by yourself. It can't do what it is intended to do when only one person is riding. This isn't about feeling lonely, it is about feeling trapped in and unable to do what you were intended to do. Those are the most discouraging days in teaching. You see the purpose and potential but can't make those things happen with just yourself.
How do I motivate my students? How do I encourage them to join in the game? How do I show them their own potential?