January 11, 2007

The delicate situation of student teaching lies in that you aren’t a full teacher and yet you are. For instance, I am a private teacher to one of the students at the school, and her mother does not see me as a full teacher. Because of her viewpoint, she rattled off to me everything wrong with the program I’m in. She berated the grading system, the directors, the history of the program, and saluted praises to past directors and events in a “grass-is-greener, glory-days” fashion that damaged my skeleton.

Here, on the rotting carpet of my university music building, she told me of the horrible things that the band director has done to trouble students that would be seen as just plain wrong.  The mother told me how the students hate him, how her daughter hates him, how she really almost hates him, and her reasons were valid. It made me second guess my fellow teachers. It made me want to leave the program, if for only just a moment.

I get to school this morning, thinking about all those things, and I see the teachers, and see how the students interact, and its not that bad. The girl who the mother said was in tears so much in the fall talks to the director like he’s a buddy, a friend, and its all good. Nothing bad, and the level of respect seems to be right where it should be.

The irony of last night’s conversation lies where the mother gave the most praise to the teacher who should have been fired a long long time ago for the way he lacks professionalism. He is free with his words, about students, in front of students. It’s disturbing and one of those prime examples of “what not to do.”

And thus, I am conflicted. How does one go about being around people when they think they have a rough idea of how poorly they are failing at serving the kids they are trying to teach? How can I go on working with and for people who seem to have only self-interest in mind? I think I have an answer: keep the kids in mind, and do what’s right there, and everything will be okay.


  1. Exactly, those kiddos and their education comes first. That is what you are there for. Their minds are open, ready to be filled with what you have to give them.

  2. Yeah, the answer you came up with is, of course, the right one. I’m not sure that makes everything alright, though. As a matter of fact, I KNOW it doesn’t…

    The big-picture answer is that you can’t change anyone’s behavior but your own. I think that it’s important to be mindful of the traps that we teachers are prone to fall into – discouragement, resentment, outright apathy in the face of such (often) overwhelming obstacles – and make sure that you don’t turn into the bad examples you see around you. Be the kind of teacher you would want to learn from, and make sure THAT’S the person who shows up to work every day. Sometimes, all it takes is one good one to rescue a lousy school year for a kid. BE that one good one…

    Lame. I know, but it’s all I’ve got for you…

  3. oh yeah…just keep bringing your heart.
    that’s all any of us can do really, in whatever it is we’re doing.

    love the poem above
    you inspire me

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