"Education is not a product: mark, diploma, job, money; It is a process, a never-ending one." -bel kaufman

Monday, March 29, 2004


on the dusk of another difficult day

on so many fronts, i am going through a period of identity crisis, although i feel the word crisis is a bit strong. identity query, perhaps.

with school, my situation lies in the fact that i am becoming more strict in my classroom. i used to be relaxed in policy because i felt it was what these students deserved — if i trust them to do the right thing, they will return my trust with the willingness to follow the rules and, most importantly, to simply listen to me. i see most students as zombies in the classes they dread, because they don’t have any respect for a teacher who yells and enforces superficial rules like no hoodies, no hats, no cd players. and i honestly belive that i succeded, because many students that the school considers "problems" are open with me and will listen when i ask for their attention. but lately i’ve been changing my policies and reprimanding students for having cell phones, eating food, and talking about anything other then the class lesson. i have my reasons, of course, but i wonder if i am slightly changing into the teachers that i despised before.

am i beginning to understand why classroom discipline is so important? why anarchy among teenagers is a dangerous thing?

or am i losing the youthful energy i had when i began teaching just a few months ago? i was bursting with ideas and theories on how to make the classroom a open and productive place without a power struggle; now i see myself frustrated and struggling with power because i am unable to effect and stimulate uninterested students. am i incapable in reaching them? i do understand that am missing vital skills and resources as an untrained teacher. but i am also going through an “identity query” where i am questioning my role as a teacher. i want that feeling back: the one where i was indestructible... where i was going to be the best teacher these students had ever met.

i also need to keep in perspective that i am working in a school that is on probation and has lacked a committed principal for two years. even i, the 23 year-old, naïve, wannabe teacher, can create a page long letter on how to create a better learning atmosphere for this school. yes, i know i am doing the near-impossible here. i have to keep that in perspective. but i also want to keep pushing myself to be the best teacher my students have ever met.


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