Blue Suede Shoes

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 23 2010

The Uphill Battle…

A fellow corps member and co-worker put it best last week: never before teaching here had she been witness to such a “vehemence for learning.” The chorus among my classes this week and last has been, “Why do we have to learn? Why do you have to teach us stuff?” Last week because we were in extended homeroom or evacuated from the building for four out of the five days, which put the students in checked-out mode, and this week because it’s a two-day week. (Hallelujah!)

This week is kind of a wash, what with student absences and other school stuff that’s going on, just as last week was, but I have not given in to the students’ requests for a movie day or a free day. Today is a test retake or make-up day for my students, because I was expecting perhaps 50-70% attendance (rightly so), and still there is pushback. Hello?! I am offering you a rare opportunity to bring up your grade in class. You don’t even need to stay after school as so many of you whine that you cannot. But I still have students sleeping or choosing not to bring up their grades.

I think it’s an intense fear of failure – and/or an attitude of “well, I’m already failing, so why bother?” – that makes many of them not even want to try, and I hate it. I hate that, at such a young age, some seem to have given up on themselves. I hate that, sometimes, it seems like we teachers are the only people telling them they are capable. I hate that those who truly seem to care about their education and who are well-behaved all the time get ignored because I have to deal with outrageous behavior.

I hate that I have so much to hate.

There are still the little things that make this madness bearable, though. Last night, I received a text from a student: thanks for actually carin about your students because a lot of teachers I had n da past could care less bt u different. I responded: you’re welcome – and thanks for being a student who cares about her education. you make my job worthwhile. The “good” kids are few, but enough.

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    erstwhile math teacher

    Region
    Memphis
    Grade
    High School
    Subject
    Math

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