Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In need of inspiration...

I just ordered these books off Amazon. I'm desperate for some inspiration.

After school today I went to have an adult conversation with my old/new friend Micah. Our reconnection has been a saving grace and a challenge to tap into some of my presently ignored passions. She recently participated in a symposium at Belmont where she was able to share some of her fiction. She met several interested parties with connections to the publishing world. It has been a rare, inspiring experience for her as well as me as we are reminded that there are infinite possibilities out there.

Public education is somewhat different than I expected. While my former environment left me with no delusions of grandeur, I had higher expectations of this acclaimed (perhaps self-proclaimed) district. I imagined my experiences in the "ghetto" as being the exception to the rule. I am finding that perhaps *it* is the rule. What I imagined to be the profession that would breathe life through me is, at times, sucking the life out of me.

Is this sort of teaching my calling? While I truly desire to inspire lifelong learning and connect that knowledge with my passion for human beings, instead, I am constantly correcting behavior and either dealing with students who have no passion, no desire, no interest... or those who want to incite and antagonize, while therefore sabotaging my lessons. So many of these American teenagers display ego-centric, entitled attitudes, and many educators further encourage those attitudes by coddling them through their academia. How can we truly be preparing them for the "real world" without also teaching responsibility and accountability? Even more troubling is the question of what the "real world" will look like when they enter it.

All is not at a loss; there are redeeming moments. There are students who I feel such a connection with, I know they are part of my purpose. I know that they function as my "meaning." Are they enough to keep my inspiration alive? They have to be for now.


Jesse Faris said...

Those books look wonderful--I'm actually crossing my fingers to be able to check "Eat Pray Love" out of the library tomorrow morning before we head out of town.

I love you and your words.

Jen said...

I'm loving Eat, Pray, Love. Read some today out on the back porch, in fact.

Sorry that the kids are not what you expected. Do you think part of it is "culture-shock?" I worry about that if/when I move out of my ghetto school.

Jamey said...

My mom is 2 1/2 years away from retirement..from teaching. She has always had a positive outlook on life and teaching. I've constantly joked with her that her favorite students have always been the thugs.

She is as depressed about the attitudes of the kids as you are. She has shared with me that several of her friends that are new to teaching are already thinking about getting out because they are so deflated from their short experience.

I will keep you in my prayers so that you can continue to trudge forward. I know you touch more lives than you realize, and my children need to grow up to have teachers like you!

Tiffany Norris said...

Great questions. I hope you continue to find inspiration and encouragement, even if it sometimes comes in small doses.

Also...I love Ann Patchett. Can't wait to read this one, and I look forward to hearing what you think about it!

Tiffany Norris said...

Correction--I have read this one, but I still haven't gotten around to Run!

Supabloggasuprememama said...

These are great questions. I think everyone faces a different version of them wherever they are in life and in their careers. I feel the same way about this process even though I'm not "working" and my questions are very different. ;) side note: I was going to read EPL this summer after it was highly acclaimed by Oprah. and then I was sidetracked. Let me know how it goes!we need to chat it up again sometime soon when you have the chance!