Two Realizations

I was standing in my class today, watching my students take their practice ELA exam and suddenly it all struck me as very odd. Here I am, 22 years old and barely in control of my own life. And yet I'm endowed with this incredible responsibility and power. 24 children, working away on their tests and oblivious to the fact that their teacher sometimes finds his position completely absurd.

I don't know how well I can explain this other than to say the whole scenario just struck me as bizarre. They look up to me, they depend on me, they sometimes hate me vehemently and even more rarely show signs of reverence. They never question that Mr. B is a teacher. I come to work and that's my job and as far as they're concerned it always has been and always will be.

Anyway, I just thought it was a funny feeling to have. It was also at about the same time that I realized I love my students. That might sound like a little much, but I mean it. I was looking around the room and I realized as much as they drive me crazy these kids are my life right now and they are completely innocent. Most of the misbehavior I deal with stems from the kids who just need attention so badly, they don't know any other way to get it.

It was a powerful realization, different from the first one which almost made me laugh out loud. With it came a sense of urgency. I don't want to let these kids down. Almost all of the past three months have been about self-preservation. Now that I have things relatively under control I am seeing through students' behavior to see their actual academic performance. Some of the best behaved kids are the lowest performers and vice versa. It's scary to see that and realize how much work is ahead of me so I don't let these kids down.

Comments

Hugh O'Donnell said…
Ruben, I'm totally in awe of you, practicing your craft in The Bronx at the age of 22! (My son, the guide, will be 23 in February, and he, too, is awesomely competent.)

I was 30 and an ex-cop when I entered the classroom. I cannot imagine having gone forth on the quest to educate young, and often rebellious, minds prior to my time of armoring up.

My hat's off to your, partner. :)

Hugh aka Repairman
Alycia said…
Rub, I'm feeling you completely on this one! I'm also getting to that same place where I'm "seeing through the misbehavior" (awesome turn on phrase.) And I'm realizing I face many of the same challenges - most of my brightest students are also my greatest behavioral challenges. Wonderful summary of the situation.

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