Saturday, September 11, 2010

What if the teacher looks past me rather than into me?

The subtitle to my blog is My attempt to fit in.  I have always felt a little outside the crowd and now I kind of try to remain so.  But when I was younger I wanted the teacher and everyone else to see me as a the rest of the kids, with just as much to offer.  I started kindergarten after my sixth birthday, entirely because of my height or lack there of.  So I was easy to overlook from the beginning. I worked hard and did pretty well until third grade.  At that time it felt like I became a fox who was hard to tame.  I felt no respect from my teacher and I think she was unsure of what to do with me.  So I was sent to resource with kids who had speech impediments and were on similar reading and math levels as I was.  I think my teacher was looking at me  but only saw the problems that had to be dealt with, rather than looking into me. I was a fox who looked like a hundred other foxes and she had no need for me.  I could be wrong and it could be that she did see me and thought that resource was the best solution. I do know that I don't want any student to be looked past, over, or taken for just another kid or fox.
My mom read through that first paragraph and reminisced on how shy/ quiet I was and can be.  I reread the chapters in Fulfilling the Promise with that in mind and a few things stood out to me.  After a Teacher invite the student to be a part of the class the student has to accept that invitation.  I don't know that I ever accepted that invitation.  In the beginning of chapter two it talks about this invitation and what the students go through in processing this invitation.  ("Come do what I ask you to do," says the teacher.   "I can't," says the student "at least not until you connect with me.  Oh, I'll go through the motions, of course.  But give myself to this adult thing called school?...")  I have gone through numerous things in my adult life that have showed me that I have been very scared of fully giving myself to anything I always reserve some aspect of myself for my own safety.  I can tell now that I did not feel safe enough to give myself to school. 
To resolve this for my students I will need to do as the book says and make sure that each student is contributing and more than, "each learner needs to come to see that he or she is a nonnegotiable part of a classroom system with interdependent parts."  I felt somewhat invisible as a child, the truth of the matter is that I did not make my self visible nor did I really try to make myself part of the class I always waited for them to bring me in.
Recognizing each student and getting them to feel like part of the class might be an impossible task as the book questioningly implies but as it also says we have to try and as Eseme Raji Codell says, " The goal is not necessarily to succeed but to keep trying, to be the kind of person who has ideas and sees them through."  I want to be that kind of teacher.


Denam family said...

because you went through this you will be a great teacher. I hope my kids will get to have a teacher as great as you.

Teacherheart said...

I totally get what you're saying... and I love that this (these?) chapters spoke to you. I just need more indication of more reading that you did. Please be sure to read all of the questions, and then answer the others with the same heart you answered this one. 2 points (so far... it's not due until Monday morning.... so you can ADD points with more answer).