Friday, December 6, 2013

A Moment of Weakness

I don't believe, unless a student is in danger, should yelling ever be acceptable.

I don't believe, as a teacher, that my role is to be mean and angry.

However, amongst a seemingly innocent circumstance, I lost it today. I went from a mild-mannered guy, quietly and kindly coaching up students as they worked and joking with them to a maniac bent on making a lot of noise and proving a point through the loudest volume possible.

I don't like feeling out of control, but this was a moment in which I did. I didn't like the surprised and shocked expression on the young woman's face, nor did I like the utter silence that followed.

Mostly, I don't like that somehow my brain felt that I needed to react that way. Sure, I had mentioned several times already to those students to stop the activity they were doing.  Sure the activity was a waste of time, and actually somewhat unsafe. But as a teacher, it is not my place to yell. It doesn't feel right.

And now I wonder - do I apologize? Was this actually the wrong course of action? Would an apology send the message that what they were doing was okay and that I just got upset over nothing?

Now, add this on top of the fact that, for the fourth day this week, I failed to motivate the same student to use their class time wisely, to think bigger, to share and show their passions. I am concerned that I am unable to communicate the value of our time together. That I am incapable of showing the reasons why what we are doing is important. Mostly, I am worried that I will fail to show her that education is the path to a great life and that she needs to strive for more for herself.  The worst part is, this is an A-student who gets her stuff done, but only outside of class... should I just leave her alone? Is any kind of "effort" grade simply punishing her for not doing things on my schedule and rewarding compliance?

Today, I felt weak. I felt like someone who had no idea how to do their job.  Maybe I'll sleep it off. Hopefully Monday will be better.

But I sucked as a teacher.

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