For the last two years, my friend John has been teaching over in Detroit through a program called Teach For America. I have known him since my first year of college. I have worked alongside him and looked up to him as a role model. His job in Detroit, no doubt, has been challenging and difficult at times, but I am confident that this experience has enabled John to grow, learn, and take on anything that comes his way after this. When we first heard from John on Yow Yow! he was maybe half a year into his program. Please read his guest post here.
How do you tell a student: “I know some of how you feel about failure: I feel like a failure everyday”?
I am no stranger to anxiety. My mom says it runs in the family. But there is a special kind of anxiety that comes with teaching. That anxiety usually rears its ugly head once a week, in the late morning or early afternoon of Sundays from September to June, telling you the kids are coming back. A former teacher of mine once stated it like this: “no matter how hard you work today, you will not do enough for your kids, and feel like you are letting them down”.
Some days I work a lot as a teacher, and some days I do not do enough. But there is one common trend: I always feel like I have not done enough.
For those of you thinking about teaching, be inspired by this sentiment: teaching is so freaking rewarding. There are such beautiful tangible and intangible results that I am so grateful for. But for me, teaching was a glaring reminder of all the ways I don’t feel like I stack up.
When coworkers find out that I am not teaching next year, they question: Is it the kids? Is it the administration? Is it because you feel this work is impossible? I make up a different answer every time, but the truth is that it is none of those things.