I need a word.
Kind of like Schadenfreude, but the opposite. Instead of happiness at someone else’s misfortune, I need to describe guilty relief.
I had three kids leave my classes this week. They were transferred, for behavior reasons1. These are kids that somedays I thought were hard as nails, and other days I felt that I was on the verge of a breakthrough with. I wasn’t sure that I’d get somewhere with them, but they were a known quantity, and I felt like there was still some hope, that maybe I could still make a difference. Now that they’re elsewhere, they’ll have to start over, with people who don’t know them, how they express their hopes or their fears, what their desires are or their hot buttons. Maybe they’ll succeed, but they often don’t – I think you’re better off with the devil you know than the devil you don’t.
I can’t measure my success as a teacher just by how well I teach the easy kids.
On the other hand, today was the first Friday afternoon in about four months where I felt energized, where it didn’t seem like Monday was already too close. Just 3 kids gone, but I spent about 80% less energy on my classes, with far better results.
There is for sure relief there. But it’s got a hefty maudlin tinge to it.
1 The one part of this weekend I’m not looking forward to is writing a supporting memo about some borderline sexually inappropriate behavior in a couple of my students. Apparently I only saw the tip of the iceberg. It’s still not clear to me who the victim was – what I saw was pretty reciprocal. Gah. So much for the relief…