Hey Jealousy

One of my students told me they wrote an essay about me in their online class. I'm not sure specifically what was in it, but they said it was a thank you. While very nice to hear, I share it not as a "hey look at me" while I'm patting myself on the back type of attention whore stage show. Instead, I provide it more as evidence to show how teaching at times can feel soooo good...so right, like the days when every single word that leaves my mouth is purposeful and effective, and the lesson I've designed for the day is so flawless that even the most picky of observers can't find fault, and the kids are laughing and learning, and their feeding off of each other's desire to understand, and they don't once, not a single time sigh, yawn, or utter the words, "why do we have to do this" and "this is stupid",  and no one is asking to go to the bathroom to avoid whatever we are doing, and no one has fallen asleep.

The other days though, the ones that can be a real shitshow...cast me bumbling about my classroom, one hit after the next, battling students with what they consider to be most important...cellphones and tablets and ipods and facebook and twitter and weed...oh the stench of weed linked conspiratorially to their eyes that barely open and their utterances of, "whaaaat?" as they look at me barely comprehending my most recent version of what it is exactly that we are doing at that moment, and of course their friends way across the classroom carrying on conversations of parties and drugs and drinking and "fucking" this and "fucking" that as if this is normal life and I don't exist, and if I don't exist well my my perfectly planned lesson that I spent hours researching and tweaking to get just right sure as shit doesn't exist...at least not like I imagined it.

These are my extremes. Genuine recognition or adulation of any sort from students can be so completely heartwarming I could convince myself for weeks that I'm absolutely doing exactly what I should be doing professionally. Those other days, the ones where I'd prefer to say "if you don't want to be here, leave" to a select few students can be so heart wrenchingly depressing in terms of effectiveness that it would be abnormal for me if I didn't question my ability to educate.

Teaching can be so hard, and I know there are so many people who believe otherwise, but it really is. The irony is that teaching isn't hard. Actual let-me-create-and-present-a-worthwhile-lesson teaching, is never ever the issue. Instead, it is so many other influences and aspects to daily education that ultimately effect the classroom detrimentally. It is these other elements that consume so much of teacher's lives...so much of my life.

And that is when I imagine every single other person I know completely content in their daily lives, in their profession or occupation. I imagine no one sitting at home questioning what they're doing, or what they will be doing next year...or in five years. It's about me sitting here thinking everyone else has their shit together, knowing in reality that it can't possibly be the case, yet still believing otherwise.

How do you all do it? How do you, day after day, make it work without question? I find this difficult.

Comments

  1. Wow, I found more about you in the last few minutes than the last five years. You are very passionate, honest, and strong. Nice writing and thank you for inviting me into your world.
    Jeff

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  2. I think questioning yourself constantly is what separates the passionate teachers from the others. it proves you care about your effectiveness.
    this is one of your best writings, by the way.
    its hard work, and it will be until we retire. hold tight and dont forget those good moments.

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