January 4, 2012

I'm Afraid of My Narrative

Photo Via PhotoSteve101 http://www.flickr.com/photos/42931449@N07/   
Teaching for me has been something of a roller coaster. I've been waiting a long time to come out of the loops, the rises, and falls, and just hit that point when I'm on a straightaway, cruising along. I want it to feel more like a road with some twists and turns, some excitement, but nothing that will make my heart pound, but I never seem to get there.

I am happy to say that I'm finally getting to that straight away, feeling the incidental twists and turns that keep the job interesting, but not to the level of frustration. But, I'm afraid that any narrative that describes the journey will turn into a diatribe. It would go through the degrees of misery and frustration that I felt getting here.

However, at the same time, there is a lot of misery in teaching. I've chosen a life with no promotions. Every year I start with the same goal, trying different things to achieve it, but always the same end goal - to educate my students in being life-long, curious, and creative learners. I'm still not sure that goal really fits in with the goals of my school district, or the politicians who pull its strings.

What I'm trying to say is that I believe, subconsciously at least, I have been avoiding a narrative of my struggles as a teacher. It has been too depressing for me. Drudging up the past of student teaching and my first 4 years is difficult without lingering in the negativity that surrounded a lot of that time.

There has been a lot of good that has come out of that time though. I'm not a perfect teacher - they don't exist, just like perfect people and Unicorns - I do know that I'm doing a lot of things better though. I know I'm doing them better because the decisions are being made with my students' benefit in mind - not my own. A lot of the things have failed and needed a reboot - most of them actually. But, I'm willing to do it.

That brings me back to my narrative. I think that delving into the negativity of my past will help me to better understand how it has led me to a more positive future. There is something to be said for learning how NOT to do things. I don't think that I could really appreciate my work now without going through the very stressful journey to get it to where it is and where I hope it will be.

This will be the first in a series I'm planning to write on this topic and I look forward to where it takes me as a person.

A special thanks to John T. Spencer for this. I'm sure that he doesn't realize it, but his work in blogging and reflecting is what makes me want to do this. I see a balanced and almost poetic view that he has of his life experiences and I'm really eager to have that for myself.

However, more importantly, I want to thank my wife, Suzanne, for always challenging my thinking at home. She keeps me grounded in what is best for my students and not what seems most interesting to me.

1 comment:

John T. Spencer said...

Thanks for the kind words! I look forward to reading your journey.