Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Teaching is My Girlfriend, Teaching is My Boyfriend

Teaching consumes my life. It is what I do for a job, what I go to graduate school for, what I dream about in my sleep, what I think about when I zone out, what I often read about, and what I write about (clearly). I’m not sure what my motive for this blog is – self-absorption? I think there must be some of that in every blogger. Part of it is that for a chunk of my first year of teaching I felt a little alone in my struggles. There’s also the fact that I kind of hate a lot of teacher movies (not including Chalk, of course).

As part of the Baltimore City Teaching Residency (BCTR! Wooo!), I definitely had people to turn to who understood my struggles. During the first month of teaching, I overheard a girl at Hopkins admit that she had cried in front of her students. My best-teacher-friend and I turned to each other and cringed together in empathy because that was our greatest nightmare.

But, I also had conversations with first year teachers who claimed that they had no classroom management problems. I am obviously very upfront and open about my problems, so when I share them, I think it’s pretty crappy to pretend that your life is perfect. I would say “blaaahhhhhhhh I had a terrible day and I said this crazy thing and my kids did this out of control thing and kept asking me how old I am and didn’t believe me for some reason when I told them I was 77 and then I called my mom and cried.” Or, you know, something to that effect. To which, I once heard, and I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. “Oh, that’s so weird because my kids never ask me how old I am or act out of control but they do tell me all the time that I look like Justin Timberlake and/or Hugh Jackman.”

I was later asked to help this person out with their classroom management and then this person left teaching. SO IT’S NOT LIKE THINGS WERE PEACHY.

So yeah, I like to be upfront about my struggles, and my ideas, and everything because I know that it sucks to be lied to about how teaching really is. You know how it’s not? It’s not like in the movies or in a lot of the lamer books. Movies and books about teaching in urban environments are so often of the vein – young white teacher swoops into the rough/scary city to save the (minority) inner city kids – teaching them a lot about math/English/whatever, and learning a lot about herself in the process. BARF. Oh, and that teacher “struggles” at the beginning, but by the end of the year they’re a freaking teacher of the year and amazing and the really bad kid who was in a gang has completely changed and it’s all because of the teacher! Yayy!! Yeah, not like that. It's less than that. And it's more than that.

Also, Stand and Deliver? That teacher was a total perv and I can’t get anyone to agree with me on that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your honesty. Teaching can be difficult and it bugs when I hear people say they don't have problems in their classrooms...this is just like the parent who tells a teacher my child has never had a problem with a raises a red flag. The title of this blog is exactly the way I feel from September to June.