Teaching in the Real World

Until the last two weeks of my internship, I was only able to interact with the students at a minimal level. After creating superficial ‘assignments’ of sorts; I was able to convince my CT to allow me to pull students during their study hall and work with them individually or in small groups. As I got to know certain students better, I came to realize that there are a lot of students which go almost unnoticed. They have no personal relationship with the teacher or any sort of connection for that matter. I wouldn’t be surprised if some teachers didn’t even know their names. To me, this is unnacceptable. You never know what kinds of struggles a student may be facing. Teachers can provide essential aid, guidance, and/or comfort; but, if we don’t reach out to them, how will we ever know? Some students need assistance in meeting their most basic needs; until these needs are met, often the content material has little to no significance to them. They have more pressing matters on their mind. We can’t allow them to slip through the cracks.

Assisting students with such needs can also be emotionally draining. My CT emphasized that you have to be able to leave such issues “at the door and walk away.” I’m not so sure I can do this. A friend of mine who teaches elementary school was telling me about one of her students who has been (and presently is being) sexually abused. She told me how hard it is to put the little girl on the bus everyday and send her back home to that; some days she literally can’t do it and the principle does for her. How does one walk away from work and block that out of their mind? I know I couldn’t. No way.

A good teacher is emotionally invested in the achievement of their students. Where does one draw the fine line between completely consuming one’s existence and being able to walk away and live a separate life?

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by hasvt on 2009/11/22 at 22:50

    Interesting feedback of your experiences this semester. Your CT sounds a lot like me in both positive and less positive ways. I think that what he is trying to tell you is that your life cannot be entirely about your students, because there is no way that you could handle all of the emotional baggage that comes from students with such a wide range of experiences. I would hope that no teacher would want to teach in a way that they don’t have relationships with their students; to me that misses the point. At the same time, it isn’t healthy to think about work all of the time because your sanity as an individual matters more than reaching out to one student.

    You cannot be a good teacher if you don’t take care of yourself.

    Reply

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