Zen. I need some.
There are different types of bad teaching days. The most common for me is probably when I'm doing something that escalates an existing, or creates a new problem. However, as of late, I've had increasing experience with another category of bad teaching days: when no matter what I do, or how well I teach, or do everything that's worked, either for me personally or because the research says so, my student still doesn't get it.
Both of my current NCLB tutees are like this. One is a 4th grader who doesn't know how to count from 1-200 correctly, let alone have any firm grasp on the multiplication facts. The other is a 5th grade denier - he thinks he's doing ok. But he is not. And he will never admit his shortcomings to save his own life. He also won't work harder to fix those misconceptions.
I hate it the most because I think the 4th grader, a girl, pretends she doesn't know as much as I think she does. And the 5th grader is, well, just plain deluding himself with his own ego. He escapes being completely obnoxious only because he has a kind personality. Kind and egotistical. Yay.
I also hate it because I'm unconsciously blaming it on their cultural background. I diss on Chinese culture a lot to my fellow Asian Americans. Mostly for fun, and to vent. But I don't usually diss on other cultural idiosyncrasies. These two students are showing me that I can change my mind about that.
What do they need? Why do they feel the need to cover-up their weakness and not try harder to make those weaknesses into strengths? Why do they feel the need to act dumb in order to support a feminine persona? What can I do to help them see that the things they are doing to themselves are hurting them the most? I am frustrated because I'm trying so hard, and doing everything I know how, and STILL results are pathetic.
::Yoga breath in, yoga breath out::
Ok. Only one more week to the 2009-2010 traditional school year. Do my best, let the rest go.