Monday, May 17, 2010

Confessional

Something must be terribly off balance or wrong if your work is becoming increasingly a source of guilt in your life, the place where dirty secrets pile up and you are glad no one else is watching. In the profession of teaching, I think it may be a game ender.
Would you believe that I yell at my kids? Even worse, argue with them? Would you believe that I even sometimes goad them, taunt them, make fun of them in front of their classmates and intentionally try to shame them? (sometimes a sense of shame would be a relief) I do all these things. And that is an area of repentance since what my students need most of all, and admittedly it is the hardest thing to give, is love.
I teach 8th grade students in an inner city school. For some people, that is a pardon more than sufficient for all of my sins. I'm not sure I agree or am willing to let myself off the hook. But then that's not what worries me the most. Because ultimately all of it probablydamages me more than any of my tough skinned students. They do care -that's a lesson I had to learn -but not nearly as much as me. I'll beat myself up at letting them beat me up, then say things I regret and beat myself up some more. Most of all, I'll just feel angry and ugly inside. This can no longer be.

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