Saturday, November 26, 2005


As a post script to the last thing I wrote, it occurs to me ...I have absolutely NO INTENTION of staying a "high school teacher" for my whole life. That is something people trap themselves into doing (I personally believe for the retirement benefits in our state).

It's a chapter, one I like for now, it's teaching me lots of things about relating to kids--how to be better at it.

I think there aren't enough hours in the day to spend considering how to teach better, really. So the job is infinitely challenging, though not overly hard. It's a matter of innovation, taking the time to think about how this (what you present) is going to hit your kids, anticipating difficulties, who will understand, who won't and trying to cobble together a way to make it all make sense...the fastest way to getting the point across, that also is interesting and engaging. How can that not be interesting?

And I haven't even mentioned things like "How do I motivate that kid in the corner who draws all the time?" "What's an appropriate intervention for the sensitive kid with the smart aleck mouth?" "Why is that one girl late all the time?" and all the other stuff...and knowing deep down, that the way you interact with them on this level teaches them something about authority--fairness, treating and being treated with respect, firmness and consistency. These are all things that hardly anyone has the market cornered on...and it's very good stuff to know.

These kids allow me to learn just as much as I teach them. Sometimes, it's just learning how to be patient or go to bed early enough to not be grouchy in the AM. Sometimes it's reaching them when my own life is in a shambles.

Still I won't do it forever, I will stay here and learn then some day I will probably move on...

Natalie, will you weigh in here?


M said...

Thank heavens you realize the gravity of being a teacher...
I wish some of mine had realized it's more than just a job.

Fitèna said...

I did tell you I taught in a primary school didn't I? I hated every minute of it. It was a private school full of little snobs, taught by great snobs and picked up at the end of the day by the greatest snobs: the parents.
I had this 10 yrs old kid who couldn't read PAPA (he's say BABA instead). I told the Director (another snob) that the kid would have to stay after classes. She wouldn't have to pay me extra or nothing, something had to be done about this kid. He wasn't the only one,there were others like him. What am I talking about? half the class was hopeless. She promised she'd talk to the kids father. The fathercame to meet me and said "no, impossible, he learns piano two days a week, horse riding once a week, swimming, another day etc..."
Another day when I was teacing them opposites (full/empty etc) I asked them what was the opposite of rich. They said poor and then this fat little snob tells me he's poor. I ask him why does he believe he's poor since I knew it wasn't true. He said his mum said so because his uncle has 4 cars and they had ONLY 2. That's when I quit.


Adeline said...

Fitena, there definately are many things that you have to just let go, and many things that are irksome. We could get together and tell stories perhaps, if only you weren't half the world away.

My favorite was a young lady who was extremely sensitive--an early 9th grader and it was a huge and difficult class for me. The kids were 9th graders (read: racked with insecurity, just starting high school, beyond immature, hyperaware of power dynamics within the room) aw lawdy...I had nightmares about this class...42 surly spanish students--anyway this girl didnt understand a pronoun/verb matching assignment, and after explaining 5 times I said "I don't know what to tell you," when she didn't get it --she just sat their in an angry, and as she left the room she said "You shouldn't be so mean, I am going to be a missionary to Mexico!"

I think in her mind, I was so evil as to actually try to stop good from happening in the world. Every teacher has class that just, just... it fails...and when it happens, it is so thoroughly disheartening ...and the time it will happen is in the first 3-5 years.