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Part of Me…

Part of me wishes I could figure out how to be one of those awesome teachers from whom kids learn an amazing amount of important stuff… but who doesn’t assign a lot of work that has to be graded.  I don’t know if those teachers exist, but I’d like to be one.  I’m tired of grading papers, and I’m especially tired of bringing work home.  But parents like to see grades and grades only come with assignments.  I do love having kids do presentations (nothing for me to bring home!) and I’m learning to grade them on their class discussions.  But how do I teach grammar and writing without homework?  And how do I check for reading comprehension in a class of 29 students without questions over the reading?

Part of me wonders if I’m a hypocrite because I so strongly believe in homeschooling, but I teach public school.  A friend told me I’m not, because those students need to be educated regardless of what I believe about homeschooling, plus it’s  hard to get a paying job homeschooling a kid.  But there are quite a few kids in my classes who would probably be much more successful if they were homeschooled, and a big part of me wants to tell their parents that.

I had a pre-service teacher (a college student studying to become a teacher) observe me the other day.  (Actually, at this particular school, I have pre-service teachers observe me two to five times a week.)  She wanted to interview me afterward, and I obliged.  One of her questions was “What motivates you as a teacher?”  Part of me wanted to say, “Honey, I do it for the paycheck.”  But I didn’t.  I told her I wanted to help kids learn and reach their potential.  And that’s true, also, but I think the paycheck might be a bigger reason for me.  Does that make me a terrible person?

I feel like there is a really liberal agenda in the school where I teach, which perhaps is understandable since not only do teachers tend to lean left, but also this school is associated with the university, and those entrenched in academia tend to lean really left.  A big part of me is trying to figure out how to stand my ground without making enemies or getting into arguments.  I also hope to find other teachers who feel the way I do so that I don’t feel so alone.  And I want to learn how to speak up sometimes, though I admit I’m a little fearful because I don’t always articulate my stance on these kinds of topics very well.  I just don’t want to see kids indoctrinated into something that I feel is so completely wrong.  I want them to at least get both sides of an issue and learn to make up their minds based on evidence.  I want to learn how to help them do that.  Ideally, I want to be a light for Jesus in this school for as long as I am there.  I just haven’t figured out how to do that yet.

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About Karen Koch

I like the old-fashioned lifestyle. All this new-fangled stuff baffles me sometimes. I cherish living out in the country, raising chickens and rabbits, planting fruit trees, and enjoying a slow life filled with beautiful words and ideas. I don't always achieve a slow life. I teach middle school English and manage a little burgeoning farm with my husband, and somewhere in the midst of that, I try to find time for writing, running, knitting, reading, and playing the ukulele. And sometimes, I actually succeed.

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