Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sanity and teaching

CT: Hey, listen to this (reads from a quick write response), "I think it is a good thing because it is good and it will be good."
Me: So she means, "Good things are good now, and will be good later?"
CT: When it comes down to this point, I've usually stopped trying to make sense out of it and just laugh.

I've heard teachers say they never crack a smile until Christmas. I used to agree with that, and then I disagreed with that, and now I'm on the fence. As a relatively young teacher, I think my students expect me to laugh a little. If I don't, I somethings get the feeling that they think I'm a stick-in-the-mud and thus lose a little respect for me.

Ok, so I'm not sure if that's true. It certainly isn't a scientific observation - just something my "teacher gut" tells me at certain times.

I like laughing. I like laughing with my students. I like laughing at my students. My CT and I do all the time - although we don't let the students know. I like ending a day that is so bad it makes me cry with a laugh.

Because that's how I stay sane doing this insane job. That's how I deal with educational law and policy that makes me do 10 hours worth of instruction in 5.5 hours time. That's how I handle being given thousands of dollars worth of teacher's manuals and yet not be provided with pencils or paper or a classroom that doesn't leak rain in during the winter and turn into a broiler in late summer/early spring. It's how I can still feel that this job is worth it even when I'm blamed for my students low test scores - these same students who are children of migrant workers and have been in school an average of 2 full years by the time they are ten years old; students who were alcohol fetal syndrome babies; students with learning/physical/cognitive disabilities; students who have no concept of what "humor" is in their first language, let alone English; students who find gang activity as common as Saturday morning cartoons.

So if you ever see me having something that looks like a hysterical fit, don't be alarmed. I'm not crazy, I'm just a teacher.

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