Friday, March 11, 2016

Year 6: Week 26 - Alone

But you are alone.

There’s the smile that you show your students. The excitement the enthusiasm and the wonder of music and then there’s what’s really going on with you on the inside.

In teaching you put on an act. You pretend to be engaged when you feel apathetic, you pretend to be excited when you are tired and you pretend to be present at times when your heart could and your minds could not be further away. In doing so, you are giving more to your students but pushing them away from who you really are at the same time. Surrounded by students, you are alone.

If you are in a bad mood for reasons that don’t have to do with school, then you have to suck it up, because you students don’t deserve your crankiness. You have to keep it together when things feel like they are falling apart. Unlike when you are with your, friends and family, you cannot be fully open and you cannot allow yourself to be fully venerable in front of your students. While you are human, it’s more important that you are a teacher.

Sometimes when you fake it, it changes how you feel, but more often than not it’s a roller coaster ride. You give yourself a moment, find that reservoir, and just go. For that class, you play your part and you feel the challenge, the dynamic exchange of energy and ideas. This drives you and propels you. The faces of the students draw you in, and their ideas make you think,

Then the students leave and once again you are alone.

This separation is essential. It reminds you that when students misbehave in class, or are disrespectful, that it’s not personal, because your students don’t know you. They should know things about you. They should know that you have a family, that you care about your job and that you care about them. If you feel so compelled, other things about yourself can be very powerful to share like your experience as a minority to a student feeling marginalized and alone.

You go home and share your day with your family and friends. Sometimes you have people close to you who are teaching, but more often than not you are a minority within groups of people you love.

These people cannot understand what you do. They will never get what it means to not have enough materials or resources to do your job right. They will never understand how much harder it is to not give 100% to a client that is a 8 year-old than a business associate half-way across the world. They will never understand these factors drives you to spend your own money on pencils for your students.

Late at night, while you are correcting papers and writing lesson plans your students are with you in your thoughts.  When you close your laptop, and finally decide to go to sleep, it’s not because you are done, it’s because even though you haven’t gotten nearly enough tasks off your to do list, you did the best you could.

Once again you are alone, finally having let the needs, and dreams of your students leave you as you prepare to sleep.  You are too tired to dream and there are too few hours to sleep until you rise before the light of the morning sun.

You do it again and again, because it is who you are. It is pride, joy, work and struggle. It’s about dedication to people over profit and individuals over self.  Feel alone, but don't forget that we are all out there feeling alone along with you fighting the good fight changing the world for the better, one lesson at a time.

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