This photo represents my normal teaching day in the blink of an eye.
The only pictures that I have of my students are the two that you see, the one in the center and the one of the boy sleeping at his computer. From these two pictures, I wove a simple narrative about my daily “belief system”.
When all feels lost or arbitrary–or when I am feeling like I am not seeing any gains in my students, I look towards the middle of the picture to see why I teach. It is for the students. Despite the other stuff that goes on during a normal day, I like to think that I can focus on the positive aspects of the job.
I am an optimist by choice. I know that the students, including myself, are beleaguered with adverse circumstances that hinder our ability to succeed…if we let them. But with a healthy dose of optimism–the right outlook–we can achieve.
Top Left: I see a lot of my students as scarcely scraping by in school, hanging by a thread. (Or, a rock in this case).
Top Center: My constant despise for sleepers, apathy, and boredom.
Top Right: When the days are long, I feel cooked. (And I just like this picture)
Bottom Left: I often feel like students have a very difficult time making figurative connections in class. The absurdity of this picture represents this difficulty.
Bottom Center: I notice a pervasive cast of anti-intellectualism in school, where students make fun of other students for saying something brilliant or beyond the norm.
Bottom Right: Just represents the normal interruptions that occurs when you’re trying to teach.
Center: Despite everything, I focus on the positive.
Last year, my department chair said during the first month on the job, “Best thing to do is to ignore all the bullshit that surrounds us, shut your door, and love your students more than anything. Do that, and you will be a fine teacher.”