Tag Archives: Volleyball

Oh the Humility!


Hello there. Excuse me as I completely fail to explain my two and a half month absence from the blogosphere (aside from saying “Teaching is time consuming.”)

This is my very special attempt to jump back in. Bear with me, it’s gonna be rough at first.

Teaching is a heady thing. For instance, on Thursday I received an unusual amount of compliments.

If I were a naturally humble or sane person, this would not have been a problem. Unfortunately, I am neither humble nor sane, so every one of those suckers went directly to my head. From compliment to ego-trip in less than 8 seconds! There might as well have been bouquets and tiaras so far as I was concerned.

Teacher of the year! Coming through! I am making a difference! I am molding the minds of young people!

Anyone who knows me at all should know what comes next –  HUMILITY FACE PLANT OF DOOM!

Which brings us to Friday.

On Friday, I agreed to play for the faculty in a Varsity v. Faculty volleyball game. Not to brag, but I have (had) a mean serve. Also, because I am not short I have (ahem HAD) a decent spike. So, of course, I was teasingly trash-talking my students. Because I am Awesome Teacher-Lady who  can do no wrong and at one time  was not entirely uncoordinated! Obviously.

Then they trounced us.

I was not happy.  And amidst my unhappiness, I realized that the fall had only just begun. Not only Because I  cared (a lot) and wanted to win (a lot) and bragged (A LOT), but also for some thing even worse.

You see, I realized that Normal-Me has a solid set of evasions for just such an embarrassing occasions.

Option #1, we have the itemized list of all the reasons this was a ridiculous contest:

  1. They had been practicing for 6 months.
  2. We did not know we had a team until the day before.
  3. The other teachers didn’t communicate.
  4. My shoulder went numb.
  5. One of the male teachers kept stealing my spikes.
  6. Etc.

Or Option #2, the classic: “It’s not like we were really trying.

Yes. You can hate me, because that option actually occurred to me. It occurred to me to pull the “not trying” card on a group of 17-year-old girls. Whom I teach. Whose minds and emotional well-being is at least partially under my protection. (Did I mention that  I do not like to fail? I do not like it at all.)

You see, the real problem with all of this was not the volleyball shame, but the panic-inducing pride that took over my brain. Fortunately, I am a teacher. And you know what is the best and worst thing about teaching? My students’ faces.

The are like tiny post-it notes reminding me exactly how terrible of a person I am for considering the options above, and how much more terribleI would be if I used any of the options above. Which I probably would, if they were not my students. Curse their tiny impressionable faces for alerting me to and protecting me from my tendency toward  sin, pride and general badness!

How, you might ask? By noticing.

Please imagine Eyeore saying this.

That is what students do. That is ALL students do. No more, and no less. Try though I may, I do not mould their minds or make them who they will be; wish though I might,  they are not oblivious or impervious to my failings. They simply notice what I say and do. 

So this is the blessed and stinging enforced humility on my plate for tomorrow. I get to go in and try to say: “Congratulations! You destroyed us. Yes, I apparently have lost all skill at volleyball, along with the sensation in my right shoulder. Also, I seem to have totally misinterpreted the passage we talked about on Thursday. Now please open your books and try to remember a fraction of the material we talked about on Friday.”

That really should not be hard, but it is.

So, thank God for teaching and for my students. May they never be in as desperate need of  a spiritual smack down as I so frequently am. Because humility FREAKING STINGS!