One thing has come across loud and clear from the other teachers thus far: as much as you care about your kids, don’t take their problems home with you. Draw the line at the class room door. With over 150 kids cycling through my class room over the course of the day, there’s no way I’m going to be able to reach out and invest a lot of time and effort in any one child. There’s just not enough time. That’s the real tragedy here; you’ll see a kid struggling with basic grammar, basic spelling, and you just can’t stop the whole class to give them personal attention. As much as you just want to sit them down for an hour and go over what a paragraph is, what should be capitalized and what shouldn’t, there’s the whole circus awaiting your direction. Blink, and you’ve lost control.
It’s like herding the tide. Your stride out into the surf, arms spread wide, and try to redirect that great ebbing and flowing mass of water. It swirls around you, past you, splashes up into your face and after awhile you realize there’s only so much you can do with the time you have with these kids. Only so many minutes in each class room, and you have to reach as many of them as you can in the little time you’re given. Which is where I guess the parents and tutors and other resources come in, but still. Rough.
We’re reading The Lady, Or The Tiger this week. At one point I asked one of my classes why they thought the Princess might direct her suitor to the tiger’s door. One of my more enterprising kids yelled out, “Because she’s a whore!” I stopped and stared at him, eyebrow raised. He paused, and then grinned brightly at me as if he’d just pulled off a most excellent skate boarding trick. And then seemed genuinely surprised when I gave him a detention and told him I was going to be calling his parents. “But she is!” he insisted, as if I were twisting facts.