Last week our school hosted some pre-service teachers for an inquiry project. They came to observe, and help out where possible.
It is always interesting, confusing, and joyful to try to see your world through the eyes of others.
Of course, I wanted them to see how accomplished a veteran teacher such as myself works magic, wrapping teenagers around my finger with ease, grace and skill.
Instead they saw my real life as a teacher.
They watched me struggle.
Big picture stuff; little picture stuff. Pacing, time of day, group dynamic, curriculum, motivation, assessment, order, community, behaviour, teachable moments, resources, communication, relationships, interruptions to the schedule.
It’s what makes this job never, never boring. I have a great passion for my job – teaching students these subjects is what I signed up to spend my working life doing(and most of the rest of it as well). As a consequence, I am deeply invested. It’s why the highs are so exhilarating, but also why the lows are so devastating.
Teaching is an interesting amalgam of fantasy and reality.
At the end of every day, I reassess the situation. I backtrack, reorganize, rethink. I create a plan for the next steps our class needs to take. I get excited. I think – that’s so interesting! They’ll love it. Think of the learning!
Sometimes it is amazing. Sometimes it’s a total wash. Usually it lands somewhere in the middle.
It’s the fantasy of something spectacular that keeps me pushing, even as the day-to-day reality begins to assert it’s own influence on the plan.
However, what is critical is that I keep dreaming the dream. If ever I stop dreaming of how great it could be, will be, must be, it will be time to get out.