Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Dark Side

Sometimes I get so angry about  things in school that I want everyone to fail.  I want us to have poor statistics and I want to wipe any sign of happiness off the face of a certain individual.  But then, I look at my students and see them not as statistics, but as children with bright futures, children who will go on to make the world a better place to live in and I will do everything and anything I can to help them reach their fullest potential.

 People who think today's teenagers are lazy, shiftless beings who only care about things like Facebook and music have not met my students.  Over 80 of them showed up today, on their day off, to review for the upcoming midterm.  True, the majority of the kids were my calculus students, but still, 80, on their day off?  These kids chose to be in school, to further their understanding and help their grades instead of staying in bed and then playing computer games all day. A colleague walked into the room and stood watching in awe as every kid was engaged and working.  The calculus session was scheduled for three hours but when three hours passed, the kids were not ready to leave and we kept going for another 30 minutes.  Some wanted to know if they could come back after lunch.  Others were concerned there might be a snow day tomorrow and wanted to figure out a way to meet, just in case.  (I told them we could do something online if that happened.)  Here are my wonderful calculus students hard at work.

I couldn't keep working with calculus kids because my algebra group was scheduled to come in the afternoon.  I didn't have high hopes that any would show, since these are not the hardest working or most motivated students in the building.  I was pleasantly surprised to have 8 come in especially since these are not kids I would have expected to show up.  They worked hard for an hour and a half and were surprised at how quickly the time passed.  (These are the same kids that can barely sit still and work for a 45 minute period.)  What got me was their desire to stay longer if we didn't finish going over enough problems, and their show of appreciation when we ended.  They actually thanked me and hugged me as they left.  These kids didn't want their picture taken but allowed me to take it when I told them to block their faces.
Today could have been an easy day, a few hours of proctoring and some other BS work, but I didn't take it that way.  I worked harder than I usually do, but I came home elated, not exhausted. I know I will keep having the dark thoughts wanting everyone to fail, there is nothing I can do about that part of me.  But, I know when I feel that way, I will look at the pictures above, especially the ones that include faces, and get rid of those feelings immediately.  I'm dealing with people, not statistics.  I know this well.  I wish I could get others to see these kids the same way.


Anonymous said...

I know the feeling, perfectly normal, especially when you have been wronged by society.
I wanted the whole school system to shut down after what happened to me. Then I remembered, what I do, saw my photographs of my themes and lessons, and received great feedback from the little kiddies and parents.

This helped wipe away my dark feelings/dark side.

Anonymous said...

It's much too late for NYC administrators. They have to drink the data Koolaid or they don't get their much-cushier-than-teaching-with-an-office jobs. It's data or drop for them, for us the focus has ALWAYS been about the kids. That hasn't changed for many of us. You are phenomenal in keeping the focus of your administration on the kids and their needs, not just the data they produce.