In an attempt to postpone the pile of grading that comes after all five sections of your grade tens take an assessment, I have decided to write a blog post.
While teaching is no less busy than it was at the beginning of the school year, I no longer feel like I’m drowning, or that I’m in the middle of the ocean without a life preserver (think: Tom Hank’s emotional state when he lost Wilson in Cast Away).
At this point, I have a better understanding of the flow of things. The daily work grind, the weekly work cycle, and a more wholesome picture of the year. But still, I struggle.
I struggle because despite my attempts and efforts, my daily actions never truly seem to meet the expectations I set for myself.
In a perfect world, I’d publish a blog post every week.
[Each post would be a part of a larger instalment, under the temporary pseudo name of “a twenty-something female decides to teach in the middle east and holy shit is it ever hard”.
If I was assessing myself like I do my students, I’d say that my title, while ever so clear – lacks conciseness, and so I would need to edit it. It’s current title: “My Adventures Around the World” reflects this attempt to be concise, while masking all the hardships and frustrating realities under the blanket word “adventure”. It’s a work in progress.]
In a perfect world, I’d have read all of the literature I’m currently exposing my students to.
[We’re in the middle of a book choice unit, and it’s sometimes difficult when a student asks a plot question, only to have no idea how to respond.
“Look at what the plot details tell you.” I’d say. “Make an inference.”]
In a perfect world, I’d already be starting my master’s degree.
[My masters thesis currently exists only in my mind, under the title: “Feminism, Football, and Falafel: A Study into Gender and Sports in the Middle East”. As much as I miss being a student so much, life is just too busy to take this on at the moment.]
In a perfect world, I would order coffee for my colleagues in the English department every so often, just because.
[*This could very well still happen (and if you’re reading this and part of the English department, good things just might be coming your way).]
In a perfect world, I’d be the next All-American on my “beginner’s league softball team”.
[In a more realistic sense, I am PLEASANTLY surprised every time I catch a fly.]
In a perfect world, I’d have each and every one of my students engaged and wanting to learn for the sake of learning. The struggle is real.
There are so many things I want for my students.
I want them to try really hard.
I want them to know that it’s okay to make mistakes.
I want them to know how intelligent they are (and that school is a flawed system that limits and conflates intelligence to an alphabetical worth).
I want them to know that they are SO MUCH MORE than their grades.
I want them to realize that being a compassionate person is the one thing we don’t assess, but it’s the most important concept that I teach.
In a perfect world, they’d get this.
But, this isn’t a perfect world. There’s no possible way to be practically perfect in every way (-unless you’re Mary Poppins).
So what is there to do? There is SO MUCH STUFF and SO MANY THINGS to be done. And while trying to accomplish it all or even just look accomplished seems like such an impossible task, I repeat to myself my own personal mantra that keeps me going:
Keep fighting the good fight.
And at the end of the day, if I can at least do this, I’m okay with that. And while my “perfect world” list might not get any shorter, I can sleep a little better at night knowing that I’ve done my best.
(BUT BOY IS IT SO MUCH EASIER SAID THAN DONE)