Wednesday, March 17, 2010

なぜ? Why teach?

I ask not because people haven't thought on this, but because we don't return to it enough. Between all the models and rubrics and student performances and stuff that we complain about because it really does suck, I think we can lose sight of it.

I teach because since as long as I can remember, I've been unable to excel at challenges for my own benefit--I've always been more the mom who picks up the car to save her child than the athlete who outruns everyone to glory. I teach because it's the only non-ephemeral human exploit, so I figure it must have some divine significance, or at least some lasting meaning.

Most of all, I teach because if I don't there's still going to be 120 kids sitting in my classroom without a teacher to support them, and I know that I'm not going to "save" them and it won't always go well, but their lives and mine will be better for our interactions.

Why do you teach?

なぜ?Why write this?

So I'm going to go another time at this blogging thing. It seems like whenever I'm busy enough to be interesting, I'm too busy to write and when I'm free enough to write, I'm entertaining to nobody in particular.

So this time I'm going to do my very best to align and be both boring and not write much.

I tend to be rather adapt at deflecting stress. When personal catastrophes occur, I just kind of like, "Meh!" and move on. But lately, I've become convinced that I'm immersed in something pretty important and have started to take on more stress. Just to illustrate, here are a couple of pictures:
Before teaching After teaching 5 years:

So I figure it might help to reflect and release a bit. Like Cocco says about singing.

I also hope that this will help cure my horrible habit of droning on and on about myself. Maybe if I just drone on and on about myself online, it'll get out of my system. Or at least, I'll get really good at it.

If I can connect up with a few other teachers and learn from you all, that wouldn't suck too much. I'm lucky enough to have some incredible colleagues and educator friends (and not many other friends) but I really feel that teachers are special in that we tend to continue to maniacally think about our jobs for every last waking second of our days. That's why it's so horribly upsetting when people are like, "You have so much time off, and short days, and short years, and what is it that you do anyway?" I'm no world class teacher poet, so I tend to just smile and say, "That's a good point, being an investment baker is so much more helpful to the society than whatever it is that I do!" because sarcasm is love.

But teachers tend to get together and talk shop endlessly. We get plastered or go exercise or ride the El around town and talk about their students and their principals, and what new lesson they want to teach and how their union sucks and what happened in Rhode Island until we have to go back to school to teach.

So, with that in mind, another teacher blog is exactly what the world needs.

Finally, our profession is in crisis. Seemingly forever, our society has had next to no respect for the teaching profession, but we haven't really done anything about it. Maybe cause we were too busy to take care of our media image because we were a little absorbed saving kids lives and stuff, and our union leaders were too busy spending expense accounts and stuff.

So it's grown and grown and we kind of ignored it when it meant that everyone thought we must have been the dumbest kids in college, and we didn't really say how utterly stupid it was when people tried to equate some horrible desk sleeping teacher with the rest of us (because of course there are no child molesters in other professions) and we didn't bother to explain that we are ill-prepared for the day because we didn't have to time to buy our own paper last night, and it doesn't matter cause the copy machine is broke again and no one seems to care.

But now here we are, and everyone who devoted their lives to working with children in the toughest environments in the country is suddenly on the chopping block and we are going to lose our pensions and our kids are going to get turned over to Michelle Pfeiffer who doesn't know a GD from a BD from a VD and is going to explain to them, "Yes, Bitch is a noun."

So let's write and share and organize and figure out how to empower these kids because while I didn't get into teaching because I was too dumb to do anything else, I sure are too dumb to fix the entire education system on my own, so let's ask ourselves, "Is our children learning?" And make the answer, "Yes, we cans!"