Friday, January 22, 2016

Year 6: Week 19 - Am I Good Enough To Teach Ollie?

It’s a lot of pressure when you really think about.

I’ve had hundreds of parents trust me to take care of their kids. Without their supervision, I talk to them teach them about music and life.  I put them in stressful situations, I challenge them to think and I give them orders.

These kids are the most precious thing in their parents’ lives. Each one of my students started as a hope, a dream, and became a child. These children were rocked to sleep, cried over in times of confusion and prayed for in times of fear.

While what we do carries weight because of the trust parents put into us, there’s the responsibility we have to our students’ themselves to be more than a person who hands out worksheets and quizzes and corrects them.

I think about my own son at toddler school.  Part of me wants him to have 100% of his teachers’ attention all of the time. But I am also very aware as a teacher that this is not possible and there are times when because of the nature of teaching a group of students, sometimes individual student’s needs are not met immediately. This kind of drives me crazy to think about Ollie needing something but having to wait because a teacher needs to handle something with another kid. And I know he’s fine waiting for a minute and he has great teachers.  The educator’s part of my brain knows that it’s important that he learns how to operate in a group setting but the primal part of my brain wants him to be prioritized.

This line of thinking begs the question: If Ollie had a teacher who was teaching like I was, would I be satisfied with his classroom experience?

That question is. . . AHH. . . my head and heart can barely handle thinking about this that way. This is a whole new level of being a reflective practitioner (if you don’t know what I’m referring to check out this post).  Part of me thinks that that I'm only a good teacher and not a great teacher and Ollie deserves better than me.  This line of thought makes me feel guilty for not being a better teacher for other people's children.

Looking back at this past week, there were moments I was proud of my work and some moments when I could have given more and I didn’t. Honestly as a teacher I’m okay with that. We do the best we can and we can’t give our kids our 100% all of the time. We work within the circumstances that we are given (e.g. class size, instructional minutes). Do my students deserve more out of me?

And that's why this gig is so tough.  You can always do better.  There's always more work to be done and in order to maintain sanity, at some point you need to say "good enough," and move on.  This isn't giving up, it's doing the best that you can, finding that essential balance that gives you time to be yourself outside of teaching.

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