Mar 17, 2011

"Letter to a Young Teacher"

Yesterday was a bad teaching day on oh-so-many levels. I'm talking kids out of their seats, chasing each other, cussing each other out... Never again. Never, never again will I let things get to that level. Well, if I can help it, anyway.

My head is still above water, though, and I am trying to congratulate myself for at least that.

This blog post, written by one of my teachers and mentors, is helping me hang on to my vision despite thoughtless (and painful) side comments from others ("Still sure you want to go into teaching?"). In a letter to a disheartened young teacher, he says, in a nutshell:

We go back to work again and again for [these] goals... The joy of working with kids. The commitment to organizing and social justice. The pay is bad but, really, not that bad. One can have a decent, if modest, living doing this. And we may be scorned by idiots but we are revered by parents, communities, and students. (--Rick Ayers)

I need to keep reminding myself that I can only do my best, and at that, my best is pretty good. Next year, my best will be even better, and so on. The important thing is that I need to keep showing up for the fight so that I'll have shortcomings to learn from and successes to celebrate.

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