All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Wednesday, 1 February 2006

Back In The Jungle.

I suppose that in hindsight, visiting that school yesterday may not have been such a good idea. Returning to my class and having to endure the frankly obnoxious behaviour of many of the kids this afternoon, impressed upon me the fact that not all teachers have to go through teaching students who don’t seem to give a shit about their education and don’t possess a single iota of respect for anyone, not least themselves.

However, thinking about my attitude, I realise that I was being unfair to “my” kids.

I need to remember that they don’t come from the same privileged homes as those I met yesterday. Maybe, yesterday’s school children reminded me of the kind of educational milieu that I grew up in, if only these children they seemed to show more respect to their teachers. I witnessed fellow professionals who spoke to classes of listeners and interacted with students who wanted to get involved in lessons. Those kids seemed to have the thirst for learning that I know I possess. Of course, I could be wrong and it’s dangerous to form impressions on observations of just a few lessons – but the difference in attitude was startling.

I went to school today, less tolerant than I should have been and so my feelings of disappointment and frustration were all the more acute. I was more argumentative than usual and even found myself biting my tongue when I was telling some horrible Year 10 students to get out of the Dining Hall. I came out with “move your fat….” but thankfully stopped myself before “arses” left my lips. In short, I’d forgotten that as a teacher, I need to be above all that, even if the little bastards pushed me to the point that I wanted to speak to them in the only language they seem to comprehend.

I guess that, sometimes, staying within your own little bubble does have its advantages. Tomorrow may not be easier, but it will already be one day further away from the image of the kind of classes that I’d like to see myself teaching one day.

However, my kids do deserve a better teacher than I was today.

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