My confidence in myself was rocked to my core a few short months ago. A few months prior to that, I was busy chasing an imaginary pot of gold. I have sufficiently licked my wounds and have healed and I promise to continue writing pretty regularly.
It’s amazing that something I love to do can so easily fall out of existence. It sometimes makes me wonder how often we as people let the foot-steps (be it real or imagined) get to us and shy away from our moment to shine.
I teach 12-14 year old kids every day. For those of you trying to do the math, that’s 7th and 8th grade boys and girls. I’m their US History Teacher. I find my whole existence with them a balancing act between empowering them to fully be the geniuses that they are, and squashing them for being over-grown little rug-rats. I don’t spend too much time dwelling on how good I am at this balancing act, I just show up every day with my best foot forward and give my students my best. Most of them give me the grace to be human as I try to give them the grace to be human too. But, it doesn’t always go so smooth. Saying no to kids does get easier over time, however. I’m sharpening my skill-set each day. Even if I wasn’t a relatively new teacher I’d still feel this way.
It reminds me of a school I used to regularly substitute teach at, before I became a full time teacher with my own classroom. And my subbing was at a high school level. I remember a teacher telling me in his 27th year how one of his classes was making him a better teacher. The guy was a few months shy of retirement sharing this with me. He was an older dude, and when he retired I still subbed for a bunch of his kids the next year, they told me how much they liked him. What I took away from him, was how much interest he took in the students’ day to day lives. He had a unique group of kids, all ESL kids, most from Latin America, but some from even as far away as Sri Lanka. They ranged from anywhere from 14- 21. It was a really interesting group.
Right now, I’m currently having my 8th grade students write a civics literacy essay. It’s a bit of a process, this whole writing process. And I have been having them write pretty extensively for weeks. The range of written responses I get from kids runs the gamut. Some students really are effective communicators using as few words as possible. Others, look for short-cuts. But, either way I want to continue to encourage them to write.
The thing is, if I’m not continuing to write, then I’m a hypocrite. That’s one thing I try not to be with my students. Goofy! Yes sometimes I am, as they very much are too. LOL. But, if I’m asking them to repeatedly do something that I haven’t been doing as of late…which I actually enjoy doing…well, that doesn’t sit well with me.
So this piece is dedicated to my students, although it’s my intention that they never read this piece until long after they have graduated and no longer have me as a teacher. But, eventually it would be kind of cool if they did see it.
PS – if you enjoyed this piece and are curious to read others similar to this one, I invite you to check this one out. It’s a few years old now, but still can capture your heart and mind 🙂 https://joshoffthepress.com/2019/01/07/in-praise-of-self-praise/