Thursday, October 29, 2009

teaching is hard

The obvious statement. Every teacher knows it. Even students know it, somewhere in the back of their minds, in a barely conscious place. 
No really, teaching is harder for some people than others. 
I, for example, imagine myself a tightrope walker, and the tension is hard to keep up. Feigned relaxation may be the most stressful thing known to man, other than waiting in line at the grocery store when you loaded 10 too many things in your basket and your kids are running wild, or being pulled over for speeding when you were taking the closest exit to a gas station washroom ....polite, polite, polite.

At school I love the students. There are little things that drive me crazy, yes. Like stop yapping and get some bloody work done.

 The tightrope I walk is that I naturally resist the carefulness, the checking, the necessity of homework, the pursed lips and the near-sighted perusing of notes and assignments, discussing meter in poetry (gag) and gee, it basically sounds like I resent curriculum and want to do whatever I want. Yeah.

The tightrope is wanting to laugh uproariously and tell idiotic jokes, wanting to break into dance or song or a rant, and being held oh-so-fragile above the circus crowd by needing to be a good teacher, by caring enough for the students and my job to educate them properly and professionally. 

But OH!! Sometimes my mask slips. 
 I thought I saw a . . . what is that? Glitter? A microphone, that frantic beat? Quick, shut it down. Do the job.

"May I have your attention, I am writing valuable things here on the whiteboard, can't you see how hard I am trying, don't you want to know??'
Perhaps I cannot do this over the long haul. How long can one perform these feats? What is the average shelf life of a secretly crazy teacher? There is a strong possibility that other teachers feel the same way. Do you ever long to hug a student and say, hey, throw that blasted essay away. I'm sorry I just explored that great story/novel/poem/film with you and then sucked away all trace of joy or the thrill of discovery by making you write a focused, concise, well-supported essay of 500 words. Due Friday. There will be a 2.5% late penalty for every day late, up to a maximum of . . .. . . . . . . . . . 


 Does this circus use nets? Because I sense a free-fall coming on.