39 and feelin’…
Disclaimer: The next few paragraphs are a bit of a rant. Apologies. Blogging is cheaper than therapy.
I’ve had a rough past couple of days at work. The irony is that this is one of my favorite times of year with my students—we know each other well, we are up to our elbows in the true stuff of English, and summer is on the horizon. Unfortunately, adults are much harder to interact with than students. Students respect honesty and they can tell quickly whether or not your intentions are genuine. I think adults have more trouble trusting and interpreting intentions.
My only goal as a teacher is to help my students learn so that they can achieve whatever they want to in their lives. I believe all of my students can learn. I believe all of my students can meet high standards given the appropriate support and enough time. And, I believe that I know my students and their needs well because I spend 180 days getting to know who they are as learners and human beings. I don’t just know them theoretically as specimen; I know them actually, as people. I commit my time and my energies to meet with students and families, design individualized instruction, offer tutoring, and meet students where they are. When students leave my classroom they are still my students, whether they are juniors preparing for the SAT, seniors applying for college, individuals who have made poor decisions and have been placed in an alternative setting, or students who have left our school for whatever reason. I believe my students know this, and I believe my students know that I believe in them. That has to be enough.
On a happier note, tonight I watched the Georgia O’Keefe biopic staring Joan Allen. So good! It focuses on O’Keefe’s early life with ‘husband’ Alfred Stieglitz. The acting was fantastic, and the historical context was incredibly interesting. O’Keefe is the single most famous female painter of all time, and she is the only female artist to have a museum solely dedicated to her work (also the first American Female artist to have her work purchased by the Met).
In the film Allen, as O’Keefe, has the best quote, “I’ve been absolutely terrified my entire life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” I can think of no better quote to describe my personal experience. On the surface I am afraid of so many things, including heights and killers, and yet I am constantly compelled to face/ignore my fears in order to accomplish the things I want to accomplish. Prime examples of this include: going to college, going to India, getting married, and getting a puppy. Yet, something inside me always screams, “GO!” at just the right time. And I go. The fear just manifests itself through wedding stomach and other fun gastrointestinal fits of fancy. Oh, and in uncontrollably shaky legs when I am in a precarious situation involving heights, like when I jumped of the 30ft pole. But something always screams GO!, so I buy Tums and carry on.
My goal tomorrow is to approach the day with an O’Keefe like focus. She had the ability to zoom in on the most essential components of everything. Tomorrow my focus will be the students, and Dante’s Inferno, and that has to be enough.