Have you ever said something in anger or frustration, and the second it left your mouth you knew it probably should have stayed inside your head to bounce around a while until you were less angry or less frustrated?
I published a blog post a couple days ago that I wrote from a place of anger and frustration. In the past week I’ve lost a grandpa and a friend, all while dealing with several issues in my school that have not been easy to wade through. Throughout my life when I am angry, I’ve always found it helpful to write. About what I’m feeling; why I’m angry; and what I wish would happen. For me, writing is therapeutic, and is a great means to cool off and evaluate issues from a different angle. Oftentimes I write my thoughts, read them after, and gain new perspective.
This week I did this exercise, and made the major error of publishing my frustration- writing to my blog before I cooled down. I didn’t wait for new perspectives to arise or the clear thoughts that come after anger. Instead I hit PUBLISH, and I think in the process didn’t represent my true thinking, and even hurt some feelings along the way.
My blog post was about how I have upset other teachers in my school with my different style of teaching. Judging them for judging me on how I run my class. I essentially said that learning should be fun (which I still wholeheartedly believe), but made it sound like my style of fun is the only way.
That music has to be loud.
Silent reading should be outside.
That teachers have to be funny.
That I have teaching figured out, and whole lot of people don’t.
It wasn’t my intention, but more than enough people have expressed their feelings that I was saying that their brand of teaching is not ‘strong’ or ‘effective’ because it is not like mine.
From my place of frustration, I left out the anecdote about my high school senior English teacher, Mrs. Perry, who was the most difficult teacher I ever had. Every piece of work she gave us was more difficult than the last, and I remember thinking that she got joy from making us suffer. We'd sit in rows in her room while she hammered home the material and made us practice the work over and over again.
But then one day she stayed after school and helped me write my college entrance essay, and praised me for how well written it was. When I received my acceptance letter and showed it to Mrs. Perry with pride, she gave me this smile that told me, “See? The hard work was worth it.”
Now that was fun.
She may not have been the boisterous, energetic teacher I now am, but she was the best damn teacher I ever had. And I think my blog post from this week gave the impression I don’t recognize the greatness in teachers like her.
Or in the many teachers out there who have countless different styles to reach kids and help them succeed.
If you are a teacher and you are dedicating a huge portion of your life to education and all that it does to make our society and world a better place, thank you. And if my blog post earlier this week did anything at all to make you feel less as a teacher, I apologize. I’ll always advocate for finding more ways to engage students and make learning come alive for them, but I want to do better at noticing how there are many ways to make that happen.
I’ll also buy a Moleskine notebook or something. It’s probably best to keep my journaling on paper :)