They’re just little kids.

This semester has been a tough one for me. I’ve never been at the same job (except lifeguarding, but does that really count?) for more than three years. So when I started this year, among many other struggles, I knew that the sheer amount of time I’d spent doing this job would take a toll on me.


I hate rows. But I love a quiet classroom.

Veteran teachers are probably laughing at me right now. My own mother is probably shaking her head saying, “Try 25 years with YOU and then tell me what struggles you have!” I know: 4 years is not that long. It’s a blink. It’s a gust of wind. It’s nothing. But, to a blossoming new teacher, it’s quite a bit of time.

Perhaps I’m a self-fulfilling prophecy, but since day one I’ve been tired. I’m tired of these kids’ attitudes. I’m tired of the bull-crap I have to swim to, just to take a teensy tiny breath of fresh learning for one single second. I’m tired of having to keep these kids’ attention for 1 minute at a time. I’m tired of them not listening. I’m tired. Not the best attitude, I know. But in a field where people is the game, it can be draining!

I’ve gotten so mad at my kids, all in the name of desiring them to grow up and pay attention. I’ve made little impact on my students, relationally. I forgot why I started. Yep, I said it. And during this final, it’s all boiling down to the end results… and I see all of my mistakes. The kid I don’t know. The time we wasted. The work we didn’t get done. The frustration of them STILL NOT KNOWING WHAT EXCEL MEANS EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE USED IT FOR THE LAST 15 WEEKS.

But they’re quiet right now, taking their finals. Thankfully, I haven’t heard any whining, they’re all just working pretty hard. I see their faces, their looks of concentration, their quick glances up at me, their puffy, sleepy faces. They’re just kids. Just little, sleepy, hopefully, hormonal, confused, happy, mad, bullied, bully, hurt, tired kids. Aren’t we all? We have no idea what we’re doing here, no idea what our next step is, no idea who we are sometimes… We’re just kids, in some ways. We’re all just kids in search of someone who understands us, who loves us, who nurtures us, who pushes us to do our best — even when we fight it.

They say that you don’t understand Christmas until you watch your own child experience it all anew. Same with teaching: you don’t understand it unless you see them as kids. Kids who need a hug, kids who need Jesus just as much as I do.


ZipGrade for Android is so easy! Just create a quiz key, print off the pdf, and voila! The initial download includes 100 free scans! You can pay for one year of unlimited scans for $7. Well worth it!

In brighter news, I used ZipGrade this morning to grade my finals. My principal introduced us to it a few weeks ago. Usually I try to do a more in-depth final that isn’t all multiple choice, but since he was pushing ZipGrade so much, I figured I would do it. I included a paragraph portion, because hey it’s English… Y’all, I finished grading 30 finals in 15 minutes. Not even lying. It’s available for Apple and Android and even has a Cloud you can register for so that you can edit things online. I give it 5 out of 5 pencils.

Merry Christmas, Teachers and Parents and Students and Kids.





5 thoughts on “They’re just little kids.

  1. So good, Mandi! Once again the to do list is so much easier than abiding and walking alongside others through the valleys and up the mountains and in circles and even backwards it seems, sometimes! I’d rather check out and produce something I can stand back and pat myself on the back for and say well done, Self! But, here in real relationships are the real lessons about who we all are and how to do more than survive, giving and receiving hope for something more, the broken people, the desperate need for a Savior, Someone who sees, Someone who draws near (even when the other feels uncomfortable and resists), Someone who serves, Someone who loves, despite the undeserving nature of the recipient. It’s all so heroic on the pages of biographies of lives already lived. It’s all so messy and painful on the front lines! But, you are an instrument in the hands of a great and powerful Redeemer, if we do not lose heart! Praying we all see these little people and big people through the eyes of our Creator and the lover of our souls!
    “From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways.
    ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭64:4-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    • Candice, thank you so much for those encouraging words! It’s so hard to see the forest through the trees sometimes. Relying on God to keep striving for his kingdom and to keep following his commands is all we can do!

  2. Mrs. Mac, as a teacher of 15 years, I found your website for a search on high school journalism. I am starting up a program from scratch and we’ll see where it goes. As I procrastinate grading the end of the year papers and final grade submission on my last two classes, I want to encourage you. I am continuously frustrated with the education system and with student performance, but for some reason I am driven now to give another rallied effort for next year. Instead of attending meaningless trainings this summer, I am changing up a few of my classes, converting my tests to an online grading program and preparing to wow the students with fresh energy from this summer. I have not felt this way in a long time. I was an English teacher for ten years and I have switched to teaching Social Studies these past seven years; I had a two year cross over in which I taught both at the same time.
    God Bless, and enjoy your well earned summer.

    • That is so encouraging. Thank you so much for sharing! I too am planning on revamping and renewing my energy as we head into a new school year — in several months! Have a wonderful summer and good luck with grading!

      • Grading is finally done. I have read your review on the School’s Newspaper’s Advisors Survival Guide. I too am looking to up our newspaper’s game, but we have no budget and I am too cheap. We currently use a free wordpress that we host through our school’s server, We do not publish on paper. I am debating joining the for more resources, possible competitions and trainings for the students, but that costs money. Sorry, I just finished this year, and I am planning the next on the 1st official day of summer break for me. Usually, I am not this enthusiastic at the end of the year, but slumped over into a depression. My wife and son are ready to have me back from the world of teaching and I am ready to get back to summer.

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