Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why I Teach: Sept. 2009

Lately I have been wondering WHY I TEACH... I had contemplated all the kids I've made cry because I'm "too strict." LOL-Some actions have consequences... I've reflected on the many nights I've not slept because my lesson plans weren't "perfect." Only to realize that some of those perfect lesssons I spent all night working on were sometimes WAY over the heads of my students. I've wondered why I've spent much of my hard earned money back on my job and the kidsin my class....and why I've spent money on the supplies parents SHOULD HAVE BOUGHTFOR THEIR OWN CHILDEN.... I've contemplated in my mind the argumentativestudents and kids who "know everything." I've gone home crying too many nights because I've felt like nothing I ever do will ever give these kids a chance at a real life.... I've spent countlessnights on my knees in prayer for the kids in my class and ones I worry about at school.... I've been yelled at by a parent. I've been told that I'm assigning "stupid things kids don't need to do," about reading 30 minutes each night. The first twenty minutes of my day and last thirty minutes are the times I'm paid to plan all my lessons for Reading, Writing, Spelling, Science, Math, Social Studies, etc., grade papers, devise plans for struggling students, conference with parents of stuggling students or behavior problems, input grade, print progress reports/report cards, adjust scheduling, adjust classroom seating, map out standards to be taught before the CRT's (the test which AYP is judged), create sub plans, create emergency sub plans.....the list goes on. However, these aren't they reasons why I teach. I teach in spite of these things. I teach for several reasons. The one that sticks out in my mind most vividly is certain rewarding experiences. I'm reminded of why I teach because I saw a former student at Wal-mart. I'll call this kid "Howe" for privacy purposes. When "Howe" first came to me his father walked this petite boy up to me and told me that his child was not smart, he should have a 504, he'll lie, he'll cheat, he's not a good student. I was of course shocked, however since coming to Pahrump this has happened to me EVERY YEAR. This is year four. I replied that I'm sure that "Howe" was going to be an excellent addition to our class and I was excited to get to know him and despite what his father said, I'd heard excellent things about him. The first two months with "Howe" were very painful. He would run in the halls and jump against the walls with his feet and ninja kick them. I would talk to "Howe" every day and remind him of the rules. His behavior did not end there, he would not pay attention in class. His desk was so messy that he couldn't find anything in his desk. He wouldn't turn in his homework. He'd get bad grades on tests. He couldn't answer questions in class. He would get into trouble on the bus and on the playground. He wouldn't even look you in the eyes when you talked to him. Then one day I took him aside. We had a conversation about his future and the conversation ended with a question. What do you want for yourself? He looked me in the eyes and said, "I want to get straight A's.I want to be smart and be a good boy." I told him, "Then that's what you are going to do." We devised a plan and from October on, he was a changed child. He was a model citizen. He'd do extra homework. He would tell me about books he was reading. He would fold his arms in line. When I would look up when teaching, his eyes would follow me. He had changed and I had helped him somehow. There are many other kids I can think of with similar stories, however this one stands out in my mind because I see this little boy at the store often. And everytime I see him, he gives me a hug. And every time I almost cry. I love that kid. He's going to do something great with himself despite his circumstances. I keep a prayer in my heart for all former students, that they will be successful and make it out of their homes alive. Now if I were to take all the bad things and add them up and compare them with the number of good things, the bad would outweigh the good. BUT those precious, precious moments where you know that you really have impacted a childs life are the moments that make teaching worth it. It's a feeling that's undescribable. However, they are experiences that need to be written down because all the bad sometimes feels like it outweights all the good. It my book, it never will. I will always teach for the kids like "Howe" and the many others I have connected with.

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