Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Good retorts only come at 3 AM

Photo from This is my facial expression when delivery the monologue below.

Now on with it. Next Monday is fall orientation. I'm going to be in with all the twee phase II's, when I'm technically a phase IV. Hm, I hope my jadedness from over-experience in student teaching won't kill their optimism.

I'm actually a little apprehensive about posting this, but decided to anyway. This in no way means that I'm shrugging off the parts of last semester that I was responsible for and just couldn't handle. I accept my mistakes. I'm correcting them as we speak, and I foresee many fewer repetitions of old mistakes to come - which doesn't mean I won't make some new spectacular mistake. But I'll be ready to prevent it, and I'm read to accept and correct it if the preventing doesn't work.

It just wasn't completely my fault either. I've been saying that it is, but it wasn't. I hate blaming external factors - they all sound like excuses - which usually turns into me blaming myself all the time, and that's not cool for my mental state. The facts are facts, and there were mistakes made by all parties involved. I've got to have the guts to confront this in real life as well as in my head, or else I'll just be trampling myself into a passive pancake of a teacher.

I woke up in the middle of the night, again, due to this oft recurring nightmare of re-living that joke of a student teaching experience from this past spring. Nightmare. Spelled with a capital NIGHT.

This time, however, there was a little twist to it. I woke up all in a panic, and my heart rate was up like I had just swam 100 meters non-stop at my fastest speed. Prior to today, I would also wake up an emotional wreck, probably crying. And then I would have to suffer through 2-3 weeks in the down turn of that pesky chronic depression.

But day is just about to break here in Pacific Standard Time, and I'm seeing things a little more clearly than before. I woke up with a much better, much more satisfying scenario in my head and I want to capture this moment to remember by before I'm caught up in the daily grind again and forget.

The first part of this conversation actually happened during our very first CT/ST meeting:

JL: Just so you know, I have less success with second semester phase III student teachers.

Me: What is that supposed to mean?

JL: That more of my second semester phase III student teachers fail than my first semester student teachers.

(Here is where it differs)

Me: So that means you’ve failed student teachers during both semesters? And more so during my phase? Hold up here, that is unacceptable. First, don’t start the semester by telling me there is a chance I’m going to fail. Why on earth would you tell someone that? What kind of “setting up for expectations” is this load of crap? Sure, there is a chance I’m going to fail - but that is for ME to decide, not you. You are supposed to show me different teaching styles and methods, the very same ones I’ve read about but have yet to see in action. You are supposed to lend your classroom for me to experiment. Of course my lessons aren’t going to be perfect. Of course I’m going to have off days. But I know I'm competent. I am perfectly capable of doing this crazy thing called teaching. So don’t choose to have a student teacher if you know you won't be able to handle having a newbie around. You not being able to figure out how to do that is YOUR problem. My job as a student teacher is completely different. Obviously you are not being a proper teacher to your student teacher AT ALL if you are going to have expectations of failure before I even begin. I deserve better than that. I PAID for a better education than this. So thank you very much, but I’m going to transfer now. Good bye.

JL: ..... (in my mind he would be speechless, but in reality he would probably have some half-assed excuse to say, luckily my imaginary conversation maker, aka Quotes of the Day blog, came up with something)

Me: “The smaller the mind, the greater the conceit.” - Aesop

When he continues talking, and I know he will because people like him have no concept of shutting up and just listening for a change, I'll walk out. Don’t want to hear no damn excuses. And of course wishing I had done this at the time instead of that massive, Fail Blog-worthy reality won't change the past.

But it will change the future. See, I can be optimistic too.

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