I think it might be because my classes are oddly mixed this year: in-practice teachers, undergraduates, and graduate students. On one hand I need to be a cheerleader for the profession, but on the other hand I have veteran teachers who are needing additional expertise and not naive optimism. It's also hard for me, too, because I know there are few schools or districts left that I'd do flips for. The bureaucracy has become so overwhelming that I'm not sure how anyone survives out in the field any more. The kids need great teachers, but the system has become a police state that makes it hard to be a good teacher.
Much of my teaching schtick is stories of Brown School and the work I'm able to do with the National Writing Project. Sadly, in-pratice teachers have a difficult time even comprehending such success or envisioning what is possible when one dreams outside of the box. They are so regimented and monitored, that they simply can't imagine a context for creative teaching and possibilities.
Maybe it is because I was given the super late slots for courses that I'm feeling so gray. The teachers are exhausted when they arrive and they have to return at 7:15 in the morning. I get tired just looking at them, but here they are pursuing their advanced degrees to earn more money in their salaries.
What is missing from the equation is the excitement for the profession that I felt for over a decade while teaching in Kentucky. I'm also missing the energy and enthusiasm of those attending our summer institute through CWP.
I need a better night's sleep so I can wake up with more pep to my step. Right now I'm scrunchy-eyed and somewhat cynical. I need the magic to return.