Friday, May 25, 2007

I'm alright (you gotta go there to come back)


It's the last day of school today for quite a few of the boys I teach. They'll be moving on to bigger and better things (uni for quite a few).

I think - for all the machismo - they will actually miss school. I'm not sure how many would admit that (especially in front of a teacher) but there's no doubt that the familiarity and ease of staying at an institution makes it welcome.

And if any of them are reading this, then leave a comment on my blog please!

Also - they should know - I'm proud of them.

Controversial perhaps, but I'm proud to say I've been part of educating them. I may not have always 100% of the time:
got through to them, marked work on time, listened to them, given the best feedback, seen the best in them every day, been completely consistent, given them the benefit of the doubt, told them the truth, treated them with the respect they deserved, or been in a good mood.

But guess what - even I'm not perfect (although some teachers think they are).

As long as everyone I teach gives it 100% in their exams, I'm not asking for more - I don't think that would be fair. If every pupil I taught could come up to me after their exams and say "I've authentically done my best here." I'd be fulfilled as an educator. Some may achieve A grades; some may achieve C grades, but 100% is all I ask for.

A good grade in an exam isn't everything.

Having said that - I do know boys, who are capable of getting excellent marks, but don't bother even trying. Their arrogance means they expect the world on a stick.

There are no short-cuts to excellence. There are no guarantees in life.

It's action that produces the results. No reading through the year, means no good results. Simple.

But - like everything it needs balance. Too much work...and well...I'd burn out. We're not machines, we're human beings.

I've been going through a lot over the past month. But I'm becoming a bit more circumspect about the things I love. I think teaching forces me to confront myself and my issues in life directly; that makes me more effective.

I'm still angry and frustrated with other parts of my life, but that doesn't mean I can't or shouldn't teach, despite what people tell me, or what my opinion of myself happens to be on a particular day. I'm still struggling through it, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Someone once told me: "there's nothing that can't be sorted out in communication".

Work Hard. Play Hard. I like to think that's something I embodied for the boys...

J.

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