It wasn't. I was cranky and mean and impatient 90% of the time, because I was constantly hungry. My vows were definitely not making me a better person.
This year, after reflecting on the last years for quite some time, I'm going to change my vows in hopes that it actually does make me closer to Jesus and helps me become a better person. When I think about the person and the teacher I have been over the last seven-ish months, two(ish) words stick out in my mind: negative and short-tempered. My kiddos challenge me on a daily basis. I have quite a bit of defiant behavior in my classroom, and while I have been able to put an effective management system in place (or at least that's what I hope I have done), I find myself "losing it" on my kiddos when they don't comply with my wishes. Everything I said I wouldn't do as a teacher in terms of student-teacher relationships, I have done this year. I have yelled. I have called students out in front of the group. I have spoken to them in a rude tone of voice.
I'm so ashamed of that part of myself. I'm ashamed to have let myself become that teacher.
Here's my hope for this Lenten season: I hope to improve my classroom environment by giving up that negativity and the short temper. I want to give my students the chance they deserve to be the good people I know they can be instead of cutting them short every time. I want to speak in quieter tones to help them know they are respected, and I want to make any "scolding" (for lack of a better term) private. More than anything else, I want to show the kiddos kindness. I want them to feel important and valued, and I want for them to have many opportunities to do the right thing.
This is going to be a challenge. When I think about it now, it feels almost impossible. I have many habits I'll have to break, and it is going to take all of my effort. I think I can do it though. Treating my students with respect is important to me, and if I keep that importance at the front of my mind I'll do just fine.
At the end of these 40 days, I hope I come out a better person and a better teacher. Let the challenge begin!