It's back to school time, and everywhere I turn, I find an edublogger lamenting some problem or concern they will have to face this year. While I certainly empathize with their worries/fears, I also would like to grab them by the shoulders and shake the hell out of them.
Good teaching comes with a sense of responsibility that eclipses many other professions. To stand before a classroom, means to tilt against an impossibly powerful opponent. It is an endless battle, and one which is predominantly beyond your control. You will be blamed for every failure, by critics at large and the one within. You will ask yourself, "Did I do enough? Did I ask the right questions? Could I have pushed harder? Did I push too hard?" You will beat yourself up over everything, agonizing over each lesson plan, focus in on excruciating details, in the hopes that the self-flagellation will make you a better educator. And when it's all said and done, it really isn't, because you get to do it all again in a few months.
What kind of self-loathing lunatic would sign on for this? Well, me for one. I know it's easy for me to be critical, safely on the outside looking in. Maybe I'll feel differently in a few years, but right now I am desperate to charge full speed into the fight.
I am a sucker for cheesy sports movies, especially underdog stories. I would say to my edublogger friends what those coaches say to their teams at half-time, when the deck is stacked against them, and winning seems impossible. The other team will always be bigger and stronger, more talented, better equipped, and have many more reserves. They will inevitably win 99 times out of a hundred. But that still leaves the one time. That one student on the verge of dropping out, the kid who doesn't think college is for kids like her, the child with the undiagnosed learning disability. A good teacher gets to win big every once in a while. They get to point to a child and say," There, that one right there. I helped that one." They may not earn a decent wage or get the thanks they deserve, but they know in their hearts that the world is a little better because they were willing to fight a battle when others said it couldn't be won.
That sounds like the job for me. Put me in Coach. I'm ready to play.