Things under attack.

This morning we had a school-wide moment of silence at 8:48am, in memory of September 11th. Seven years ago seems like a lifetime ago. This date always makes me think of catastrophes and destruction of a smaller scale, three years ago. I’m pretty sure that was one of the worst episodes of my life. I think I needed that reminder today, of tragedies of every kind, because in comparison I don’t have a lot I should be complaining about. I am exactly where I want to be. Not everybody gets the chance to achieve their dreams at age 23. Wait, 22. I keep forgetting.

This week and last week, I’ve been trying not to think too hard about how much this is my dream, and how hard and how long I’ve worked towards this job and this career. I don’t want to admit that I am nauseously dreading coming to my “dream job” every morning.

Today teaching most of my classes felt like fighting a losing battle… particularly the older ones. It isn’t that I’ve been too soft. It isn’t that I haven’t been strict, or consistent. They just don’t respect me. Yet.

The fact is, there is a huge difference between teaching in an Ann Arbor public school, and teaching in a Detroit charter school. I am extremely grateful for my fellow teachers who have approached me here today to tell me again and again: if you can teach here, you can teach anywhere. One teacher told me about how after teaching successfully in “gang schools’ in L.A. for nine years, she came here and cried every day for the first month, at least.

Luckily, I am not in this for an easy job, or for the money, so I’m not going to give up.

There were some good moments today. I had a meeting with my lead teacher and a more seasoned teacher during lunch, to talk about classroom management ideas. I called a few parents. I waited outside to talk to a few parents in person. I hung around at dismissal and got to hug some of my students goodbye, and hear from them individually. I feel like I have to, since the entire time I am in the classroom I have a raised voice, or am giving death stares to people acting up.

Fifth grader: I saw the picture of you on the bulletin board downstairs… why does it look like your eyes are red?
Me: People with blue eyes sometimes get red eyes in pictures, from the flash. Though actually, I have laser eyes.
Her: Really? Can you see right through me?
Me: I’m looking at your brain right now.
Her: Ms. K, you’re joking, right?
Me: I guess we’ll see.

It is almost five. I am going to finish typing up my lesson plans to turn in. I am leaving this school building. I am going out to Cliff Bells — a jazz club in Detroit — with some friends. I am going to have a freaking drink. I am going to sleep. I am going to get up and teach. Repeat.

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2 Responses to Things under attack.

  1. d.cous. says:

    Keep at it, Sara! I’m loving the red eyes bit, by the way 🙂

  2. nkelber says:

    Ahh, now you understand why I hate teaching! Well, almost. Don’t let them break you. Money is an awesome thing to have.

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