Friday, September 28, 2012

I teach children

I'm struggling a bit now, but that's not unusual for this time of year. The shadows are lengthening, and I do not (yet) know my students well enough.

Oh, I study their personal information and their IEP's, I check what part of town they live in, see who's father still lives under the same roof, look at last year's transcript--I glean what I can from the computer summary we have on each child.

Not sure why I even bother--the child who enters my classroom, the child with with a beating heart, a warm smile and quick frown, the child with the rumbly tummy of hunger, the child who arms her insecurity with bravado, the child who is friendly with everyone but knows nobody, the child who speaks Bengali, the child who needs me to watch him play volleyball (because no one else will)--none of these children can be found on the computer screen. (At least I can learn their names before they walk into my room.)

The one thing I will not do? Ask other teachers to check my "list"--I don't want to know what they think about a child who is now a year older than the version we had last year.

The shadows keep lengthening, as they will for a few more months, but the the hundred or so young adults who were a mystery just 3 weeks ago are starting to morph into the lovely young adults that make teaching an intense and important craft worth pursuing.

If you're mortal, and I am, these things matter.
If you want to teach human larvae, you got to care to know them as though your life depends on it. 

For all the noise we get, I can't imagine anything more rewarding.

Embryo photo from the University of Michigan.
We lost a student after this was posted--one I knew.
Tomorrow is going to be a tough, tough day.


Jose Vilson said...

Your only crime is that you want to teach your kids too much.

Emilia said...

Hi, I'm a student teacher of Physics with Mathematics in UK.
Your blog is so inspiring!
Thank you, you gave me new hopes about my career :)


PS I apologise for my English but actually I'm Italian and moved here in UK only a month ago cause in Italy there is a bad situation for teachers.

doyle said...

Dear Jose,

Well, maybe a few non-education crimes in my past.

A special thanks for your link--your influence is much appreciated. Sorry for the long delay responding--been a long week.

Dear Emilia,

What a nice letter. Thank you.

I hope the UK situation is a bit better than what's happening here in the States, but with a background in physics/mathematics, you should do well.

(If not, think about hopping across the pond--we could always use more physics teachers here!)