Thursday, June 16, 2022


     I don't know what other teachers do when they need to remember to point something out to classes, but I write notes on things, and highlight them. I have written notes on notes, about things I need to add, things I need to make sure I explain in more detail, sometimes things I need to point out that are important that the kids pay special attention to, and these notes on the biology final. Maybe other teachers just know what they are doing. Lol, but I doubt they always do, I know too many teachers. Teachers have a special gift of being able to figure it out, and figure out how to teach the kids, even if they are not totally sure in their subject. I have heard from way too many teachers that have been given a subject that is not their specialty, or that they have never taught at all, that have had to figure it out. I am not officially a teacher, but I taught a bunch of kids this year, in 4 different subjects, and I think some of the kids actually learned something. 
     I taught during one of the most screwed up years we have had in a while. So many people were hoping for, or expecting, normal. We were all back in person again, that's normal. We could do work on paper again, or from books (which are also paper...), that is normal. Kids could talk to each other, eat in the cafeteria, all these things are normal. This year was not normal. At all. Some of the kids had not been in a real school setting since the 6th grade. And now they were expected to be high school kids. Some of the kids had not had a normal school year since their freshman year. But they were expected to finish this year, graduate, be adults. Then there were the kids who were stuck in the middle. Every one of them had a messed up school year, because the last several years were messed up. And all across the country there was the cry of, think of what they have been through! They have most definitely been through a lot. But so have the the adults. We were also trying to navigate this weird year where we were hoping for more normal and didn't get it. It was rough. It was a struggle to get kids to engage, and some of them really didn't try at all. But sometimes we could get through to them. Get a bit of effort. Get them to open up about why they are upset, which could sometimes get them to a better frame of mind for getting some work done. 

     I came in to my classes the second week of second term. I inherited a mess. I inherited some of the toughest to deal with students in the school and classes that had not been managed well. It was a circus. It took a good solid week of repeating daily that we needed to have respect. For everyone. For me, for each other, for themselves. Then I could sort of cut it down to once in a while, sometimes though it was once a week. We talked about respect a lot. Sometimes it worked, but sometimes it didn't. I did what I could with the classes. I did what I could with the individual students. I definitely made some progress in getting through to some of them. I am sure I taught them at least a few things. Whether or not they remember any of it next year is not something I can predict. 
     Next year I will go back to being a para. I will still help the kids learn, that has never stopped, but I will no longer have anything to do with lessons or planning. I will have very little to do with classroom management most likely. The teacher sets the tone for that, and some teachers don't really set things up so paras can help with that. There are amazing teachers that bring the paras right into things, set the tone that we are also their teachers, or at least another adult in the room who can help and has authority. Then there are teachers who pretend we are not there, or not important. Or worse, that we are grown students or their secretaries. Being a teacher is hard in a lot of ways, there is no denying that. Being a para is also really difficult, for some of the same reasons that being a teacher is difficult, but also in different ways. 
     Yesterday I finished cleaning out my classroom and I rehomed all of the things I have gathered that I no longer need. I kept a few things, some of my puzzles, but most things went to other teachers. It was weird, but I will not be teaching next year. I have no desire to go get the credentials I need to do that (besides that the time it would take is likely long). But I am a really great para. I am a really great teacher too. It was weird to be in the spotlight, teaching is a performance art after all, it might be really weird (and challenging) going back to being in a supporting role. But my superpower is that I am good with people. I am also super adaptable. I can do this. 


timaru star ii said...

Wow, a fabulous post. Yes! You are adaptable, and that is the most precious and desirable trait of all, seems to me. Who wins at evolution? The ones who can adapt the best the fastest... Your insights on teachers are spot on. Congratulations for knowing your own strengths and edges.
Now enjoy the summer!

Anonymous said...

Whoo! You did it!