Thursday, February 12, 2004

No, your teachers do not sleep at school...

Another day of afterschool, so back to the Shandi conversations. Apparently, Shandi has some drug abuse in her past and is the "black sheep" in her family. A whole new set of questions for me today:

"Do you go to clubs?"

"That's getting a little personal."

"Well, do your friends go to clubs?"

"If I answered that, wouldn't I really be answering your first question?"

"Well, do you go to parties?"

"Everyone goes to parties, but my idea of a party might be different from what you're imagining when you say party... that's why I don't like this kind of question."

Little did my interrogator imagine that this very night ALL her teachers were going out to the G-Bar, a new Bronx hot spot, recently profiled in the NY Times......

So here I am, several glasses of wine and an enormous amount of so-so (er, mezzo-mezzo?) Italian food later... with a quiz to write, not to mention a vacation homework assignment to prepare.

Interesting day... Thursday is supposed to be my light teaching day, but I covered two periods for other teachers since my principal had to attend a regional conference in the morning and another teacher was handling the suspension & expulsion of the boy who brought in the knife... I kept calm and relaxed and felt much more mature... the last few days I've felt like I was spiraling out of control, like I couldn't really handle my emotions, so much frustration and anger kept rising up within me. Today, I pulled it all back together again, who knows why? but I did.

People develop & change - physically, emotionally, spiritually - throughout their lives. The (child) development classes we take to become teachers stop after adolescence, or briefly brush by adulthood to old age. It's easy to forget that I am a developing, changing person first, a teacher second. I know what I want to be. I know teachers who are more like the teacher I want to be. I know people who are more like the person I want to be. I also see ways in which they are still developing... or ways that I want to be different from them. This last week has been rough - I have felt so far from the person, the teacher whom I wish to be.

If I made a list of the characteristics I strive to embody, it would sound like a prescription for sainthood, too! Dear god, I am nowhere close to being as patient, as understanding, as good a listener, as true to my teaching philosophy, as responsible as I hope to be... but I think that without that goal, I would rapidly become mired in excuses. Our world today, we are up to our ears in excuses. Too few people (politicians, parents, teachers, business people...) have any sort of real vision for the kind of world they would like to live in. When someone else presents them with a radical, inspiring, provocative picture of a different kind of world, most people just flail this way and that and get sucked deeper into the muck of excuses...

Okay, I'm rambling, I'm a little drunk, and I have work to do... I fear I may not be making any sense... Overuse of ellipses (...) is always a bad sign in one's writing....


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