A Modern Bildungsroman

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 11 2012

Rollercoaster

It is 11:00 on a Friday night and I am…blogging?  Another way my life has changed drastically since last year.  Hmmm….not gonna dwell on that one too much!

This week has been a roller coaster.  Actually, most weeks have been roller coasters, with me alternating between “How can I ever return for a second year?” and “Wait, they are listening and they are working!”  Which is an improvement since the first months of school, when my room was a not-hot-at-all mess where my students would literally write “F*** SCHOOL” on my wall (as if I needed a tangible reminder of their feelings towards my class) and throw objects and water around.

I had a really meaningful conversation with my MTLD tonight, which is helping me put things into perspective.  I think one of the biggest takeaways from this conversation was that sometimes, you have to separate the person you are from the teacher you are.  Maybe in real life I’m shy, maybe in real life I avoid confrontation, maybe in real life I absolutely crave, and need, stability and order.  But as a teacher, I can’t be shy.  I’m the adult in the room, and I have to own that and show my students, and myself, that I’m in charge.  I also need to accept that “middle schoolers” and “stability” are entirely contradictory.  There are way too many hormonal changes, combined with the challenges my students already face, to have any semblance of predictability or order.  I need, as a teacher, to recognize my students’ emotional stages, rather than adhere to a 100% compliance standard that’s, frankly, insane to expect.

So how do I feel right now?  I actually feel alright, and not defeated, with a new sense of perspective I’m going to prioritize.

One Response

  1. els

    “I need to accept that ‘middle schoolers’ and ‘stability’ are entirely contradictory.” TRUE DAT. That’s been one of the hardest things to swallow about teaching middle school.

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