This is a good day to reflect on why I love to teach. Especially because the last couple of weeks have sucked. Let me rephrase that…..my lessons haven’t worked. At all. So back to the drawing board.
For all of you teachers out there, why did you choose to teach in the first place? I had no pompous thoughts that I would change the world. I just thought it made sense to do something I was interested in, I liked to do and that someone was willing to pay me to do. Who doesn’t want to get paid for doing what interests them?
I love languages, love reading about languages, love discussing languages and love sharing my love for languages with others. Literature….ahhh. Grammar as a key to unlocking a new language….ahhh. The power of slang….ahhh. Word origination….ahhh.
And how cool are idiomatic expressions?? The best.
You’ll notice that I naively left out one big ticket item. That learning to read and learning about languages would have any interest whatsoever to anyone besides me. And a couple of other people.
Picture a high school student who would rather be anywhere else than in an English class. Even though this student thinks physics rules the world as we know it, imagine him/her gobbling up a Thomas Hardy novel and asking for a recommendation for free reading.
If you can picture this, you have an overactive imagination. You silly person, you.
I would like to think that having me for a teacher has had a positive impact on at least some students. One would be a failure if that never happened.
But the shocker for me was how much students would affect my life.
Here’s an example. I don’t remember what the essay was about, but probably it was a thematic essay that the state requires in which a student has to dissect a book to the nth degree (you can tell how much I hate that dissection). I was reading all of the essays one evening and I stopped short.
In the middle of a paragraph, a student wrote “This is the only class where I don’t feel invisible.”
The lesson that young man taught me is that loving my content area and hoping that I can make someone want to become, and then actually become a better reader, or a better linguist, or a better writer is not what teaching is about.
Building relationships with students where they can trust you to guide them to a person who can help them and/or give them advice is what it’s about. Where you can help them break through some of their life shit so they can feel supported and can focus on their education.
I will figure out lesson plans for the next couple of weeks that will hopefully be more successful than those of the last couple of weeks. The previous ones may not have achieved what I set out to achieve. But I care that my students become successful and they have, as always, inspired me to strive for success.
I have remembered why I love to teach.