I ask myself constantly why I can’t manage to bring together my classrooms of students in a caring and respectful community all the time. Certain days, everyone is into what we are doing and certain days they aren’t. I’m not sure what makes the difference, but I know there are many factors that play into it: what’s going on at home, how much sleep was had the night before, whether or not there anything to eat, what’s going on with friends/enemies, and a lot of time it comes down to what happened the five minutes before they walked into my room.
I love teaching, but there are days where it would just be easier to feed cattle. Cattle always want what you have to feed them and take it in with unparalleled focus. Cattle follow you wherever you decide to feed them and bellow their impatience for the food. They ingest bite after bite without complaint. They know that if they keep eating until the food is gone, there’ll be more when I come again. Once they’ve eaten their fill, they lie down in the warm sun to let it all sink in, digest, and do their body good. They can get distracted by each other, but for a very brief time and then they are right back on task with their nose happily rooting through the hay pile.
If there was a cattle care rubric, I would score exemplary. I never neglect them, even when it is fifteen below and my fingers lose all feeling. And they are always into it! I wonder if you can paid for that, or for taking long walks, reading good books, or enjoying cups of coffee.