Monday, November 1, 2010

these women

Being a young, female teacher at an all-girls school is crazy.

Every day I encounter crazy amounts of attitude, inappropriate conversations, lack of ambition, overambition, and enough to make me seriously worry about how safe some of my students are. At the end of a day, I can feel a multitude of emotions: despair at how I'm ever going to get them to understand a concept, elation because they understood a concept. Hopelessness because they confided in me and I can't help them, hopefulness because they confided in me and I can help them. Humor, security, anger, exhaustion, the list goes on and on. I wonder some days if I'm strong enough to do this.

But inevitably, something happens to make me realize that they are, in fact, making me stronger. By testing me so consistently, they're helping me to hone my skills at teaching, at trying new techniques, and troubleshooting and giving positive feedback and just generally speaking to people. Through my experiences with them, I'm learning where my boundaries are and how to make them known. I'm learning how to speak my mind clearly and honestly. I'm learning what I believe are the essentials to humanity, what's important to me individually. Though I knew parts of many of these things, it is because of these young ladies that I'm learning to define and articulate it.

This job is incredibly difficult, and anyone who says otherwise has either given up caring, or never did in the first place. To be good at this job is to let it partially overtake you; it's finding the balance that is difficult.

When I see them in class next, I'm going to thank them. They'll probably laugh and say "whatever, Miss", but I know that some day they will remember that moment, and they will know what it is to help another grow.

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