Friday, October 06, 2006

Mr. Benjamin - Version 3.0

To those of you that have been kind enough to send me e-mails over the course of the summer and beginning of the school year ... thank you.

There was a significant portion of my summer spent considering the transfer to another school, and alternatively, leaving the profession of education altogether. I elected to not accept a position at a much better, succeeding (indeed thriving) middle school in a very attractive area of NYC. The reason for this choice was concrete enough to me, but not to many others... I just had a "feeling." I wanted out, I didn't want to teach, I didn't feel like a teacher. Why impose myself upon a new school, and a new classroom of students, with such serious doubt?

I was informed by my principal at the end of the school year that I would be "looping" with my seventh graders to the eighth grade at I.S. OZ. I was stunned that I would have to return to the same group of students. I was convinced that I was being punished by my prince for my many misdeeds. I had become a vocal opponent of the administration at faculty meetings. I loudly decried the lack of appropriate resources for my students. I had become ... a total pain in the ass. So my punishment was another year of lunacy and violence with the same exact students. When I asked the prince to actually give me her reason for the assignment, I was told that the students had made progress, "relatively", and were finally under control, "relatively."

So with those words I left for my summer vacation and continued with my grad classes. I then went to Alaska, and after drinking an abnormal amount, engaging in much lascivious behavior (cough, cough), and enveloped in some of the most brilliant scenery and wildlife I could ever imagine, I went back to I.S. OZ with a chip on my shoulder. The F@ellows program was inept and a scam, the school hopeless, my teaching abilities abhorrent, my students perverse and beyond intervention.

I only bought enough bulletin board paper to cover the "big" boards that hung in my classroom. I wasn't investing anymore, personally or financially.

And then the first day of school came around, and off to collect my charges I went. I collected their hugs and handshakes with happiness, but all the while doubted their sincerity. I then reviewed the years' procedures and goals, while trying to suppress the doubt I had in myself and their abilities. And then the year began.

And it has been spectacular.

I'm teaching, for the first time in my own estimation, well. Things that were so difficult in the past, such as classroom management and lesson planning, now seem instinctive. Difficult situations have occurred already, but I seem to feel myself more capable and effective in handle them. So I'm cautiously optimistic. And quietly happy that I chose not to throw in the towel too early.

So, now that the sappy crap is out of the way, my favorite part of this week was when my UA (Undiagnosed Autist) exclaimed to another student:

"Motherfuc&er head, get the fu*ck out of my desk!"

And I replied:

"AU! Good for you! Nice way to express that you're unhappy. Once we get the potty-talk out of that sentence, I'll be even happier!"

His reply to me?

"What's that, motherfuc&er head?

Still. It's progress. Not appropriate. But progress.


Chaz said...

Welcome back. I feared that you committed suicide or left the profession. On the other hand you have your posse back with you. I guess that is a form of suicide.

You really were missed by the classroom teacher blogging community.

Jonathan said...

Something is loopy there.

That was a tough decision, passing on an easier gig to go back. Good luck to you.

I look forward to reading more here.

Ms. H said...

I second Chaz's comment...boy am I ever happy that you're back.

Glenn said...

I'm glad you decided to stay, and I understand the feelings of insanity. You're not insane, you're just a teacher.

Jules the Crazy said...

wow, it's great to see you back! sounds like you had a great and relaxing summer, which you deserved more than anybody. your decision to stay must have been a tough one to make, but it sounds like by sheer determination you will make sure it was a good decision. :) best of luck, can't wait to hear more about your adventures this year!

come hang out with us for the next teacher-blogger thing, whenever that might be. sounds like you'll need the drinks and venting! :)