Friday, May 7, 2010
Sometime I feel like these flowers - hanging from a cliff, wind and water beaten, but still trying desperately to bloom and fulfill their life's purpose
Something about today, being just another day, brought my focus on some students who either stare at the wall in a catatonic state or ensure no one can focus on their work or instruction.
I am angry with them, I am disappointed with them, I am frustrated with them… except, today, I realized that I am disappointed with myself.
Should they have their own best interests in mind? Yes! Should they be motivated to change the patterns that have brought their families to and have kept them in poverty? Yes! Should they be decent people and not stand in the way of others learning? Yes!
But if no one taught them, why do we expect them to do it? if the influences in their lives are greater in the opposite direction of education, cooperation and success, then why do we expect they will conform to our expected set of behaviors just because we ask, and explain the benefits of listening to us?
I am a teacher, not a babysitter…right? I was hired to give these kids the knowledge that will propel them to the top and lay the bounty of American opportunity at their feet… right? But do expectations matter if they simply do not meet reality? Is this not one of two main sources of human suffering – unfulfilled expectations and desires? Teaching still is, in many places, a profession where the focus lies dead on learning and achieving higher and higher planes of understanding, where behavior is not the mitigating factor, rather intellect and cognitive capacity determine the heights to which one can soar.
So, this is not my reality, alas, but my circumstance still demands that I impart knowledge and a moral and social compass by which to use that knowledge, onto my pupils; so if they are unwilling or unable to perform in a given environment whilst using certain tools, then it is up to me to create the kind of environment in which they can function and learn.
How exactly am I going to achieve this? I am not yet sure, but at least I know that I must and that what I have done thus far is not the answer for all my students.