Reminding Me of Self

First Year Teacher ChartAt this point, everyone’s frustrated. The students have been on a huge sugar rush for the last 3 weeks, sucking on Jolly Ranchers of all different flavors and drinking all types of carbonated drinks before, during, and after class, thus making them more hyper and off-the-wall than usual. Teachers have lost much of the optimism they had initially from the beginning of the year in the face of the worst behaviors from the children, plus they’ve become a little more concentrated on classroom discipline than the lessons themselves. Even the best of the administrators soon crumble under the immense pressure and long hours they work, thus making their flaws a little more conspicuous.

It’s times like these that I turn back to that first-year teachers’ attitude we were given to remind us that things eventually do get better for us. There’s little reason to think that it won’t. Unfortunately, first year teachers become disillusioned by the aforementioned factors, and even older teachers go through issues related to disillusionment, but moreso about the administrators above them.

In turn, this is when we should remember why we became teachers to begin with. We’ll get a nice long break to be with our families and remember who we are, filling our stomachs to the brim and maybe slipping in a little surprise at the bottom of whatever we’re sipping while we’re unwrapping presents or delivering them for that matter.

In my position right now, I always get to reflect on my own teaching, and how my own actions affect the classroom and therefore what I can do to make the best of the situations I’m given. However, now more than ever, when I’ve found myself in the most awkward position I’ve ever been in 2 years or so, when I have so many people relying on me (children and fellow teachers alike), when the second half of school is decidedly quicker than the first, I need to find the inner strength to become the rock star I know I can be. (I’ve played well enough to earn me a drum solo, but I’d like to be remembered as one of the greatest drummers that any live audience has ever heard, btw …)

All this to say that maybe more reflection and self-awareness might ease the pain and anguish I see in the edusphere (virtual or otherwise). Maybe it’s time we use the one vehicle we have for expressing ourselves to really express ourselves. While the walls that be close in on us, we should use whatever free space we have left to do what we need to. Maybe we can spend personal time with the children tomorrow instead of just force-feeding a lesson before the break. Maybe we can have an honest conversation with a fellow teacher or administrator who’ll lend us his or her ear. Maybe we can just write down and detox …

Maybe. Or definitely. Whichever’s more pertinent to you, whoever you are at that moment …

jose, who in a state of eternal reflection …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Jose VilsonReminding Me of Self