Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pointless Battles

There are many things I know I need to work on in my teaching method, style, and preparation. There are many things I don't know. Three weeks into my second year of teaching, I have so much to learn. I need to be more creative, I need to reach out to students more, I need to set clear parameters without being bitchy, I need to focus, streamline, and think. Yes, there are so many ways I need to improve.

Yet, one of my biggest frustrations so far is not my lack of skill (though that is frustrating), not the amount of supervisory and extra jobs that fall onto my plate, not even my students who can't shut their yaps... it's pointless battles.

Homeroom is a pointless battle. Channel One is a pointless battle. Tucking in shirts, not eating candy in class, and not sleeping during class/study hall is a pointless battle. These are battles I don't want to fight. These are battles that lead nowhere and mean nothing.

I understand the reasoning behind all of these, yes. And, yes, in a perfect world students would listen to Channel One and follow dress code and be awake and engaged. But, they don't. And a teacher can yell, threaten, and bully--but in the end, for what? Trying to keep a bunch of 17 year olds quiet for 20 minutes of announcements is silly. ESPECIALLY, when those announcements are repeated throughout the day. What reason do they have to be quiet? And yet, I am expected to keep them quiet. I am expected to reign them in. I am expected to have control simply because I am the teacher. In today's world, that simply doesn't always translate.

Perhaps in time I will learn how to manage control. How to fight these useless battles. How to balance power struggles. Right now, they never cease to frustrate, to undermine excitement, and to leave me feeling tired, cranky, and unsure of what I'm doing.

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