Alternative title: Where My Balls At?
I know, somewhere Big Mama Mimi is reading that last line, shaking her head and wondering where it all went wrong. Sorry, mom! But hey, sometimes a girl's gotta say what a girl's gotta say.
Let me get to the point. You all know how I'm not afraid to say that there really are some plain old sucky teachers out there, right? I mean, it's true. (Granted, there are many of us out there who rock endlessly and yet the media loves to look the other way unless we are clad entirely in leather, essentially living in our classrooms and come with our hip hop soundtrack that magically follows us everywhere.). If you are a regular reader of the old Blog, you may also know that I often wonder whether these not-so-hot teachers blew when they first started their careers. Have they always sucked eggs or where they broken down by a system that constantly puts their needs and expertise at the bottom? Have their voices been silenced and their skills sabotaged by years of being told what to do, when to do it and how they will be punished if they do not follow through?
I don't know. Maybe it's a little bit of both. I know I spent nine years in a school where I learned a tremendous amount and was able to truly improve my practice. But there also came a time at this same school where I grew sick of the drama, the "speak when spoken to," the disregard of my knowledge. (And just like that, a snarky blog was born!)
Let me get to the point. I think education today is a dangerous business. It is easy to get wrapped up in the whole top-down hierarchy thing that seems to be our situation du jour. And it is even easier to lose your sense of self, what attracted you to the classroom in the first place, and your confidence in your own abilities and knowledge.
I know this is true for at least some of us, because it happened to me. Yes, Mrs. Mimi, she who is unafraid of saying pretty much anything, sometimes loses her mojo.
I have been a bit vague as to exactly what it is I do in classrooms these days. I am lucky enough to work for a visionary company that provides professional development to teachers. I am learning so much about the teaching of reading and writing, about how to work with adults (we can be difficult) and about myself as an educator.
Recently, I came to a sad realization about myself that made my super hero cape sag and shook my confidence. I had a particular plan for a school, knew it would work for teachers and believed in the process we were about to engage in together. But when that plan was questioned, I caved. Did what I was told. Lost my voice.
Nobody involved had bad intentions for teachers. The sad part isn't that my plan was questioned, or even that it was altered- the sad part was how quickly I lost confidence in my own knowledge, how I forgot to present my side, that I forgot about what I believe in if only for a moment.
Teaching can be brutal. I think that I am still recovering from some of my past experiences and still trying to find the voice that is so easily expressed here, but sometimes gets lost in the chaos.
So....I am now on a personal quest to build myself back up. To stop apologizing and to start trusting my teacher instincts again. Do I smell a New Year's Resolution in the making??
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