How do you balance your teacherhood? I am gonna be honest I struggled last year. I started out with culture shock at how different teaching high schoolers was compared to university students. Then I had to remake ground and show em’ my nice. I constantly have searched for that balance. I don’t want to be harsh and mean. But I understand quite clearly that I am NOT there to be their friend. I know there is a balance in the middle and I must find it. And I think I did.
I also realized from my own parenting and two years with high school kids. They need boundaries. If you don’t give them they will take liberty with your expectations. But something great has been happening the last few days. Some student reflections in my class, some frank conversations and just some over all honesty.
I encourage reflection always. But if I encourage it I know also must do it. So I have. I believe I have found quite the balance in the teacher department. I have been with this group of kids almost the whole school year and asked for feedback on my teaching. I have been dubbed the “nice” teacher that expects a lot. And guess what…that is what I was aiming for. I do expect a lot. But even better they tell me it is appreciated. They like that I don’t let them give me less than my expectations.
Sometimes it is hard I admit. But it is what I believe in my heart. It is what made me who I was/am. It was my own teachers. Teachers who refused to let me slide into mediocrity. They believed I could do and be something amazing and therefore never let me give them anything less than amazing. That is darn powerful.
A big part of my teaching philosophy is pushing them to be better people, to respect themselves, to respect me, to respect their education. Last year I wavered at my own insecurities and this year I owned it. I am okay that sometimes they don’t like me. Though it is high school, it isn’t high school anymore.
I am a teacher and I have to believe what I sell and have faith that my love first of English and then of teaching will change their worlds. When that starts happening and I see it…it feels so amazing. Students who I believed would hate me forever and sent me home in tears many nights. Come to me a year later thanking me for standing my ground and demanding their best.
I don’t phone it in at all. I go into my classroom heart on my sleeves and I am who I am every single day. Sometimes that is beautiful, inspirational and meaningful. Other times it is tired, grumpy and hoping no ones notices the stains on my clothes. There is something in that that makes this experience authentic and full of emotion. But that is me. And that is the biggest take away for me…when I just own my authenticity they will see all my good shine through even on the bad days.
There is a power in that and that power comes from balance and love. #lovealwayswins