I Love Teaching, But…

Sometimes I wish I worked in a less whiny profession.  And it isn’t the kids who whine.  I’m talking about other teachers.  I mean, really people, just because you work with kids all day doesn’t mean you need to act like one.

Is it just NYC schools, or are teachers generally whiny in other places, too?  I don’t remember this happening when I worked in publishing and for the non-profit organization.

We get a resident artist to come to our school to teach African dance.  One of the other teachers called it a waste of time.  I said I loved it.  The whole room got quiet.  And they asked me why.  I said, “It teaches the English Language Learners directionality, it gives kids a different way to learn.  It ties in directly to our social studies curriculum…”  That’s all I could think of at the time, but since I’ve been home, more has come up.  It is total physical response! It teaches them to recognize patterns and rhythm, which connect directly with math and poetry.  It teaches them to LISTEN for cripes sake.  If they don’t listen, they mess up, and everyone knows that they weren’t listening.  When one is spending a ridiculous amount of time doing test prep, it feels damn good to stomp one’s feet.  The teacher is African-American, but he sometimes wears a shalwar, much like many of our students’ parents.  And it makes them realize that Islam is not isolated in their countries, it is all around the world.

Sorry you had to listen to my rant.  This is what you get for making me blog every single day in an otherwise uneventful month.  But seriously, don’t freakin’ knock the arts when I’m in the room.  I will knock you down.

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6 Comments

Filed under teaching

6 responses to “I Love Teaching, But…

  1. The arts are definitely important. I recently opened a school with a focus on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. We all strive to align our teaching practices with students’ learning styles. It is truly a gift to walk about the classrooms and see students engaged in a variety of creative activities—e.g., music (iMovie, GarageBand), movement, etc.

    On another note: Yes, teachers can be difficult at times. I can sure tell you that, as a site principal, it isn’t the parents and students that keep me up thinking at night. It is getting adults to be nice to one another and sacrifice for the benefits of the kids.

    I just started blogging and ran across you site. It is interesting and you have a lot of great insights. Thanks!
    Perry
    http://wisefoundations.wordpress.com/

  2. Co

    I think teachers are whiny everywhere. I can’t speak for everywhere really, but I used to teach in NC and knew teachers from Houston and Baltimore.

    In fairness, I actually became disrespectful to other adults for the first time in my life when I became a teacher. I was always one of those children/people who would dutifully listen and pay attention during a class or during a speech or whatever, even if I was bored out of my mind or inwardly felt like my time was being wasted. Once I became a teacher, if they brought in someone to do pd and I didn’t feel like it was worth my time (it often wasn’t — in part, because I taught special ed. in a middle school and they didn’t care at all if I got any professional development — only the students with a shot at passing the state tests mattered and that wasn’t my kids), I would talk during the workshops, write notes, grade papers or plan lessons and not even pretend I WASN’T… I did turn into one of my students, in part, because my time felt so limited those first few years of teaching… I really did need every second I had. I was very resentful any time it was wasted and I was forced to sit through someone talking about disciplining students who didn’t have to deal with some students who were chronologically 13 but mentally 5 mixed in with others who had behaviorally-emotionally handicapped as their primary handicapping condition mixed in with LD students so phobic about school after years of feeling (wrongly) stupid that they will cause any disruption or even stick their fingers down their throats to make themselves vomit to get out of having to show me what their writing looks like.

    Anyway, I think it is interesting that I never acted out in class until I became a teacher.

    I don’t know why teachers would whine about that resident artist though. Sounds awesome. The 3rd graders at Lo’s school work with an African dance teacher, too, and perform at the school’s Kuumba Day celebration. I love watching them every year.

  3. Co, Your comment made me realize that a choice I recently made is a little rude. We have grade meetings. Totally unproductive grade meetings in which nothing gets done but bickering. I’ve decided to bring work with me to the meetings. That way, at least I can plan while they bicker. I’ve been teaching for 10 years, and I still feel as though I need every minute without the kids to be a useful minute. I really do like my colleagues on a one-to-one or one-to-two basis. Altogether there’s something unfortunately toxic about this grade’s teachers as a group. I had wildly productive grade-level meetings in the second grade. Mind you, my school is huge, with nine teachers on each each grade from K-3, where the classes are capped at 20.

  4. CD

    teachers are the worst students. and the whiniest, i’m sure of it. although, i have to say, in retrospect, my NYC colleagues seemed much less whiny than my affluent-ish suburban school colleagues. entitlement has to do with that, perhaps.

  5. We tend to get whinier as the amount of work and irrational expectations mount, yet the physical impossibility of fitting it all into the day disallows any of it from getting done. I love enrichment like you describe above – I only wish there was more of that and less of the stuff over which we have no say.

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