Monday, June 9, 2008

how & why

Sometimes my job is difficult and I get crabby about it; I find myself lingering in bed in the mornings, postponing the time I'll have to head to school. But there are decidedly inspiring and enjoyable times, and I cling with dogged desperation to those moments. When my students are engaged (without threat of failing the class) in an activity or, Blessed Savior, actually learning things, I am able to go on.

These last few days of discussing The Great Gatsby in Literature class have been pretty rewarding for me. I've been reading it aloud for maximum absorption (even though I know I could be excommunicated from the Very Proper English Professors' Club) and as we get to the end, my students are becoming increasingly opinionated about Nick and Gatsby and Tom and Daisy. It's interesting to hear their perspective on money and infidelity and loyalty among friends, but mainly it's thrilling that they have a perspective and are willing to share it. We even had a heated discussion at the end of class today (we actually got to 1:58 without anyone getting up and trying to leave!) about [SPOILER ALERT] how Daisy will respond to Gatsby's death. I am eager to see how they react tomorrow when it's clear she doesn't care; there might be some angry tears.

And in Leadership, I've been struggling with how to deal with a particular student - I know the Love & Logic way would save me much grief (Disengage!), but I can see so much potential in him (that he works very hard to hide) and I end up getting into circular non-discussions with him that eventually keep me awake at night. I actually told him Friday, as he argued that he didn't need to type his Life List because he wasn't going to do anything on it anyway, that I was glad we had two more years with him because, as God is my witness, I will see him use his brain power for good by the time he graduates. He gave me a weird look and kind of smiled but still didn't log on to a computer. But today, he went to the lab to work on his final paper. And when he turned it in before the end of the period, he asked which classes I'm teaching next year and announced (in an extremely nonchalant, teenage boy way) he wanted to be in my Literature class if that was okay with me. Lord in Heaven.

I will be out of bed early tomorrow, smiling.


Karen said...

I KNOW those are the reasons anyone teaches. Lord knows, it's not the big paychecks or the celebrity. But it freakin should be. Don't get me started on our backward ass priorities in this country. Anyway, as a mom of two little girls I thank you and all those like you who teach the youth of America!
ps It's almost summer!

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

You have planted some excellent seeds of change. That is the best thing a human being can do, IMHO.

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

They are so lucky to have you. I believe you are a bright spot in their lives, even when they are rude & grunt.

I hope these last days are rewarding.

Minnesota Matron said...

Love this! There are joys in teaching.

brandy101 said...

you are an angel!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I love to hear these stories.

scargosun said...

Whoo hoo! That is SO great! I loved almost all my Lit teachers (except a REALLY bad one in HS). I am so glad he told you that. Teachers need to hear more of it.

AngelConradie said...

i've said it before and i'll say it again- teachers are superheroes and i wish there were more like you!


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