Sine wave of confidence in myself at a low right now. Many factors contributing–a talking-to here, a piece of someone’s mind there, a few more failures to be as good a parent as I aspire to be, and I end up (after the first reaction of anger or irritation and self-justification) weary, feeling small, with no one to dry those tears. Who was I kidding, that I had the nerve to aspire to be a teacher? Looking back on the moments in which I had nothing to offer but a hoping for the best, and a sense of knowing I don’t know much.
After a few days of thinking things had gone well during my eight days of subbing, I took some days off, thinking I deserved a break. Turned out to be four, to be around for my kids who are opting out of testing. Now I’m feeling irresponsible, for not adding to the finances as much as possible, and at a time I should be trying to reinforce my commitment to teaching and making a good, memorable impression on administrators so I have a shot at a job in the fall. Plus when I’m adrift around the house these days, I lose some of my groove–the home projects don’t fulfill like they used to, and the kids don’t need/want my leadership in the same way, naturally. The role of housewife is stale, especially in the awareness of my having fallen short in the area of training the children to co-manage with me.
Failures at home carry over into a sense of insecurity about my worthiness to teach in a formal setting. Even if I have proven myself in some ways, got the stamp of approval or requisite number of stars, what about that other thing? If I get to the short list of candidates for the science positions available, say the screener or principal decides to do a quick internet search on my name? Up come two letters to the editor in which I advise parents to opt out of testing. Just before the wave of student opt outs in our three high schools, as if I was maybe some kind of adviser behind the scenes. Which I would have been proud to be, I guess, though that was not the case–I met no one and sensed no rumblings of a local opt out movement when I made my move. But what concerns might an administrator have about what kind of employee I might be if hired? Insubordinate? Overly independent? Or courageous in the cause of educational ideals and democratic process, a good example to the young citizens under our care? Will I get the chance to explain that I did this in the role of parent, that if I were a full time teacher I would be agreeing to abide by professional protocol and remain neutral? Not mentioning, of course, that my version of neutral includes providing options and full information as to the nature, quality, and reliability of tests, and student/family right to choose.
At first I felt that my classes last week went well, considering the diverse needs and low motivation that I’d been warned about. But am I deluded? In two classes it felt like I was stringing beads on a thread without a knot at the other end, in my efforts to find ways to help student focus on and see the point of and value and accomplish the tasks laid out for them. Meanwhile one to two sets of table groups are completing them without much need for me at all, except to find out what to do when they were done. One table was all English language learners, and without knowing their particular language, I couldn’t even distinguish the ones who simply needed translation from those who had trouble with math in any language.
I walk around the classroom with my high ideals, seeing the value for all of these activities they are supposed to do–working with speeds and times and rolling carts, then doing the math, but I’m dragging them along through glitch after glitch and, what was the point, again? Connection with environmental science, again?