A Tough Job

[Response to Chapter 2 of BPR’s “Adolescent Literacy:  Turning Promise into Practice”]

“Favorite teachers can save lives” (16). 

I think this quote from the chapter pretty much summarizes my thoughts and feelings after reading. Many have given me a hard time for wanting to teach. Even more wonder why I want to work in an urban setting where hope is already lost for many of the students.

Yes, I know I can’t “save” all of my students. And I know I can’t change them as well. But I do hope that maybe, just maybe I can open their eyes to something new. That maybe they will walk away with just a little something. Or realize that there is more to English than just reading and writing. Yet, the most important thing I hope they would walk away with would be that someone does care.

Teaching is a lot harder than most people realize, but I think the rewards of helping maybe even just one student see what he or she can accomplish is what makes it all worthwhile. 

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2 thoughts on “A Tough Job

  1. So, I’m curious about this – as it is a really BIG statement. Maybe it is my ideas about the word “save”… Connect this to your current field placement. As you read that environment, how does this idea of “saving lives’ play out?

  2. It is a big statement! But I think it is a key part of what motivates me to teach. And in my mind, “saving” means opening students’ eyes to the possibilities before them. Showing struggling readers and writers that they can be successful. Teaching students that English is so much more than just “traditional” forms of reading and writing. Saving lives means showing that kid in the back of the classroom, who is failing miserably by the way, the connections to his life outside of the classroom. Or perhaps not immediately crossing students names off the potential list of candidates for a summer camp, when discussing a summer program to help students who would not have the means to attend a summer camp or make it to college prep courses. (After all, though college isn’t for everyone, why should we essentially cross students off the list because they appear to not have “college potential?” Isn’t the point of the camps to bring forth that potential? For the student to recognize his/her potential?) And not giving up on students, too. All of these examples encompass what saving means in my mind…a big statement, yet sadly, I don’t think all teachers try to save.

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