Monday, September 28, 2009

Priorities... revaluated

I absolutely did not take my own advice. I have dropped more weight and my clothes are starting to get way too loose. Even my students have started to comment that I'm too skinny.

I just can't seem to find enough time in the day to get things done.

In fact, the act of getting up and going in for work has become painful. I don't enjoy teaching like I did last year. I've started to seriously consider the option of going back to work in research.

Why, might you ask? Because when I was a researcher I pulled the same hours but I didn't take it home with me. I suppose I should remember back to my time in the lab and realize that I was horribly miserable. I hated it. There was too much stress and everyone expected you to be perfect all the time. I was bored with the monotony and everyone there was not interesting. People were just flying by all around me and they didn't have anything going on in their lives that seemed worth a damn other than their families. That, and they didn't really have a sense of humor. I missed the crazy fun that I had in college and grad school.

That crazy fun was what drew me to teaching in the first place. I suppose that I need to focus on that and remember that I wanted crazy. I wanted to fine the Zen in the middle of an insane place. When I first started teaching I told my students that I needed a crazy life in order to be happy. I've been trying to do what each person who calls themself my boss says a teacher *needs* to be or do. I need to keep control. I need to make the immature kids that walk through my door into well-read, well-spoken, knowledgable little ladies and gentleman with manners and an understanding of how the world works so they can go out and thrive. Yeah, that ain't happening.

The kids that walk through my door are good kids. They haven't always had a great educational experience but that isn't my or their faults. I do need to teach them some basic skills but by trying to handle everything at once I will fail them. I can't do everything that the district and my professors at Grad School tell me I need to do. Why? Because it's too much, as the kids would say.

I need to set ATTAINABLE goals and try to meet them. Why? Because it's more fair on the kids? Why? Because I'm not a superhero. Why? Because I don't want to burn out. I love working with kids and helping them along but I'm new at this and I have to allow for mistakes. I'm still learning.

Why? Because when you set the bar too high, you only set yourself up to fail.

I know I'm a good teacher. I am a good teacher because I love each and every one of my students - no matter how ill behaved and unmanageable - and I can make changes in their lives by believing in them. And I do believe in each and every one of them to set manageable goals for themselves and meet them if they have the right motivation and positive feedback. I can help them with that because my students often have never had someone believe in them in their lives. I believe in them. I have to believe in myself and the fact that I'm smart enough to beat the system.

The system is broken. I can and will have to find a way around it for the sake of all the 180 little souls that are in my care for an hour a day each day. All of them are different, fun, interesting people. I need to remember that they are what comes first and not the district. I have to do what is best for them.

Repeat after me: the students are the focus, the students are the focus, the students are the focus.

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