When I taught in MS202 in Ozone Park, I taught in isolation. When I had a “difficult class” I hid it from my colleagues. I wasn’t about to admit I was having trouble. I never asked for help, and I never shared anything that was happening in my class with anyone other than the students in front of me. I was a good teacher at least I thought.
I mocked teachers who spoke about school on their lunch break. I felt that administration was the enemy. Basically I closed my door, did what I thought was right, then went home.
I was never asked by colleagues or administration about why students were successful in one class and not another. What did I care if Johnny couldn’t read that was the English teacher’s job? What did I care if Debra had artistic talents beyond her peers? Wasn’t that the Art teacher’s job? And Math….lol I thought it was a waste of time.
I worried only about my class, I was only concerned with my teaching history. Not my students. I was worried about my “teaching”. After all, it was the only thing I could control.
Then I came to QHST. I really had to start thinking about much more. I was asked to participate in CFGs. I was nervous of being exposed as a fraud. That peers were just going to laugh at me. What the hell do I know? What the hell do they know? Why would they care about what happens in my history class? I was standing in front of math teachers, a music teacher and veteran English teacher explaining how I teach. I immediately thought this was crazy, against my union contract, and not what I went to school for. The uncomfortable feeling prompted my to call a teacher from my previous school and explain, “ugh…the meeting I had today was a waste of time.” (That was easier than sharing how uncomfortable I was)
Now we have these “Grade Level Team Meetings.” I am put on the spot, asked to talk about students (something I cannot control) share successes, and failures. I’m no longer teaching in isolation. I know who the artists are in my class, I know who is better at math, and who loves to write or read. It is too much. Too much to think about. I’m held way too accountable by my peers. Where’s my union, this job is too tough!
I want to go back to the isolation, to worrying only about history not the lives of students. I’m not paid enough to really deal with weekly parent calls, electronic grade books, holistic differentiated instruction, and educational philosophy.
Leave that to the professionals, I’m a teacher.
(wait a minute did I just type that?)