Thursday, February 16, 2012

Good Fairies and Bad Fairies

I think that this is the part where we are tired. Where we are not sure this is what we want to be doing any more. Where we stop and ask ourselves what our alternative was. And then we can't remember.

I feel like everyone in my program right now is completely exhausted. Operating somewhere between insomnia and assignment due dates, I find myself questioning whether or not this is what I really want to be doing. A friend and I have been joking a lot about working at private schools and how that must be the answer, and in all honesty we have both applied to several and are anxiously waiting to hear back from them. We joke a lot about finding a "hippie learning school" and pleading for them to let us in. While we both "love" working with our students, I could not say that I love everything about being here. I guess I have finally learned that just like there are good fairies and bad fairies there are good students and bad students.

I think that this is why people are attracted to working in the young elementary grades, I think that all the kids are still good fairies then, for the most part. The students actively care that you are there, they actively care that you exist, and they are active participants in what you have to say. At least this is what my delusions lead me to believe as I see the tiny creatures bouncing along in the hallway with one hand in the air and the other over their mouths. So with this I would like to explore two questions. Why do some kids turn into such evil monsters? Why is it right now that I have finally reached this point of exhaustion and I think that private school is the answer?

I want to understand why kids turn into monsters sometimes in the middle school, because at this point I do not feel like teaching or working because I do not believe that people who don't want to learn deserve to learn. If you can't put in the time, you don't deserve a dime. If you can't make the time, don't waste mine. I feel as if these are things that I have heard throughout my life that these kids have not. That there is an element of respect and discipline that these kids lack. It might be the way I was raised, which of course you could go off on that I led a privileged life with a great family which is true and that many of these kids do not have that, but that is not an excuse for their behaviour. And right now I do not feel that I can work with that. And this feeling isn't just stemming from my personal experience but from my observations of my co-teacher and the teachers around us. I think this is why I think that private school is the answer.

Many of the values that I grew up with came from the fact that I attended a private elementary school, basically a private high school, and a private university. So that is what I know. I feel guilty that these kids are not growing up in an environment that values education in the same way that I did. And I am struggling with how as a teacher I can affect my students in a way that they come to value education. Especially when it feels like fighting tooth and nail every moment sometimes.

I have another friend who told me the other day, as I was expressing my anxieties in a more colourful fashion, that he thinks that my problem right now is that I need to work with older students, that high school would be much more my scene, and that my brain is just working too fast to do this whole middle school thing. I did not agree with him.I believe that I would like high school students in a different way and for different reasons that I like middle school students. I would like high school students because of their potential abilities for higher order conceptualisation of literature and maybe their maturity level. I like middle school students because they live at a turning point and everything just seems more urgent with them. I like middle school students because they want to be social, and they want to talk, and they want to act up. It is just a matter of figuring out how to channel that energy.

And this brings me back to the good fairies and the bad fairies. For the most part, a class is made up of good fairies, kids who want to make magic happen and who want to be creative and who are positive. But every class has it's bad fairy. The kids who can destroy the motivation and happiness of the entire rest of the class. The kid who is a rotten egg, a bad seed, a negatively spinning black hole sucking the happiness out of the room and the hallway and the whole building. How do you stop this?

YOU BECOME THE ALL POWERFUL FAIRY AND DEFEAT THEM WITH YOUR MAGIC! TRY EVERY SPELL YOU HAVE GOT AND KEEP GOING! I guess why this teaching program is a year long. So, that we have enough spells to make it happen for ourselves and our students.

I guess I didn't answer either of my questions, but I sure do feel better.

1 comment:

  1. Last night I had the distinct pleasure of viewing the documentary film "Undefeated" produced by Zipper Brothers Films. One of the Zipper Brothers is a business colleague of mine and he invited about 150 of his closest friends to watch the film and share a little BBQ and some of his excitement that the film has been nominated for an Academy Award. Imagine the thrill for a doctor from Melbourne Florida! The film cronicles the 6th year a Memphis businessman volunteered to help the Manasas High School losing football team. North Memphis may well be one of the most destitute, despressing, poverty stricken places in the country. Anyway, the coach was the good fairy, literally, who taught the very rough boys how to become young men, how to live with character, how to make a chance for themselves in life and how to become a winning football team byt first winning in life. It, being a documentary, is a true story. Get it, watch it, share it with all your cohorts and your teachers. Many of those bad faries really are worth the effort and you will all be rewarded. Go to to find out if it is showing anywhere in Baltimore. It is being released today tro theatres.