Some Nights (What We Stand For)

Jose Vilson Jose

fun., “Some Nights”

Some nights, I stay up cashing in my bad luck
Some nights, I call it a draw
Some nights, I wish that my lips could build a castle
Some nights, I wish they’d just fall off

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for oh
What do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights, I don’t know anymore…

Dear You,

Confession: Some nights, I know why I do any of this, either.

Six years ago, I wondered if teaching actually made any sense for me. The constant bombardment by people who hadn’t been in the classroom in a while complaining about the unopened boxes in the classroom, my unorganized and hastily done bulletin board, and other nitpicky nonsense that wouldn’t help anyone as an educato.

The difference between an S and a U was all a matter of whether I acquiesced to their demands for a pretty classroom, never mind that students generally wanted to come to class because I cared more about making them feel welcome than whatever a checklist somewhere deep in a manual told us.

I didn’t believe, then, that teachers should only follow their hearts and minds when they taught. Yet, the students always made me feel like I was on the right track, and I just drew on my own intuition to address what I believed about them.

But intuition isn’t enough for a teacher. That’s why I had to develop a core set of beliefs that no matter what happened to me, no matter where I went, no matter what the circumstance, I would always assure that my passion and desire for the profession remained.

I believe the children can. Learn. Do. Teach. Improve. Contribute positively. Enlighten.

I believe listening to them more often without our own agendas often enlightens our work.

I believe teaching children, not having an affinity for a particular subject, should inform our work.

I believe that teachers who genuinely care about the students enough to both push them academically and understand their obstacles make a great school.

I believe that schools should work around community solutions and agendas, not demands and complaints from on high.

I believe my daily actions have an effect on everything I perceive.

I believe in taking personal responsibility for my flaws, my imperfections, and my misgivings.

I believe in only spending energy on those who can give the right energy back.

I believe the truth will set us free.

I believe I shall fear no man.

They don’t hear me, though.

In our most trying times, when the tension becomes too thick, the changes too quick, the moments when something you’ve taught sparks an idea with a child who otherwise would have no interest or understanding in the material, when the only reason they still come to school everyday is the responsibility towards the things you do, when the class work reflects all the work you put into planning those 45 or so minutes that day hold you over.

These beliefs carry us home. They hold us together. They bind us.

What do you believe in? What do you stand for?

Jose, who tries twice as hard and is half as liked, but here they come again to jack his style