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

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

My Flame

I don't mind telling you that I'm going through one of my "down" periods.

Things just don't seem to be working out for me right now. So far, I've sent off numerous applications and am still awaiting that ellusive invitation to an interview. I got feedback from one school and without going into detail, their reason for not shortlisting me was frankly ludicrous.

My Year 11's are doing their very best to hand in as little coursework as possible, despite the fact that it needs to be sent off in about a week-and-a-half and if that weren't bad enough, I've been told by a number of people that that some teachers around school think I've "lost my spark".

Told you I was down.

I think the "spark" comment is the one that hurts the most. I can't tell you how much I love teaching and I really, really do. When I go out there and engage with a class who want to learn, my heart soars. The problem though is finding a bunch of kids who can be bothered to keep quiet long enough to make the effort to get educated.

Yes, yes, it is a two week street. I have to be enthusiastic despite their apathy and generally ill-mannered temperament. So I go in there, give it my all and am frequently rewarded with rudeness and ridicule. Yet, if I let them get to me, my attitude leads to more of the same behaviour.

Let me use an analogy to describe the way I feel about teaching right now:

I see myself as being the custodian of what I shall call "the naked flame of learning". I bring this modest fire into the darkness of the classroom and do my very best to ensure that it is able to withstand the wintery gusts battering it from all sides. Sometimes, the wind wins and blows the flame out. I then re-ignite the spark that powers this vulnerable fire and battle on against the elements. If I manage, some education gets out there into the void and if I don't....well, maybe the next lesson's climate will be more favourable to my optimistic combustion of belief and hope.

Have I lost my spark? Have I abandoned the flame? I don't think so . I see it as still being there, quietly trying to light up as much of the darkness as possible in the fervent belief that it's light will manage to reach everyone, despite the long, dark and lonely night.

It is damn tough being a flame in a hurricane.

Damn, damn tough - but then again, being the custodian of a flame was never going to be easy.


Anonymous said...

A great analogy.

The flame however needs to be protected. Think how much care is taken to ensure the Olympic flame never goes out on it's long and difficult journey. In your case the flame does not get protection but is abused by the kids and the system - something needs to be done to protect your flame!

The Scribbler said...

Any ideas?!