Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Apprentice: learner, prentice, works for an expert to learn a trade

I have a lot of things rushing through my head right now. I’m tired. Being a teacher is hard. Being an apprentice is not as hard but, it’s still hard. I am being convinced, more and more, without a doubt teaching makes a difference. Teaching is probably one of the jobs that make the biggest difference in people’s lives. It may also be one of the most difficult jobs out there.

My education was so random and varied I don’t think I realized until the past couple of years that teaching is what I have been wanting to do all this time. I have wanted to be involved in helping develop stronger communities and giving people the opportunity and reasons to dream and create. All of that is hopelessly idealistic and I intend to stick to it. What it looks like in reality is much less lovely and much more incredible. The obstacles are bigger than you could imagine and the rewards are much more subtle --students learning that they like to eat vegetables, parents getting their students to the doctor, and other non-“standard based” accomplishments.

I have been working with such dedicated and excellent teachers. I admire them so much. I feel so honored and inspired working with them. Our students are actually reaching their “grade level” standards. I am exhausted but, I intend to learn all that I can so that I will also one day be as good of a teacher as the ones I’m working with right now. Their unwavering dedication to children and their learning is incredible, patience, so much patience, work, so much work, and commitment. It’s fantastic. It’s hard.

I left work feeling so disappointed. How are we supposed to teach children whose parents are caught up in their own emotional messes? If they are not nurturing their children and giving them safe homes with relationships that are secure? Some of our children are so distracted by their relational poverty that they have a very, very hard time learning. It’s difficult, but it’s still so important what we do, in spite of all the odds being against them and us, they are STILL learning. It’s hard but, it’s unbelievably rewarding.

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live the questions now... R.M. Rilke