Friday, October 21, 2011

Oh, We're Halfway There...

(Love me some Bon Jovi!)
Halfway through the semester.  4 more sessions of my Tuesday class, 6 more for my (awesome, amazing!) Thursday class.  I'm thinking of taking a little staycay the second week of December, after everything winds down.  Finding someone to cover my Pilates classes and just taking a break. One week of not having to do anything but get the kids off to school and home again.  (And clean the house, walk the dog, shop for groceries, cook...but you get the idea!)

I've also decided to bite the bullet and apply for a teaching job at a university that's kinda far away. It's part-time, it's in my field, and it's what I wanted to do before I went to grad school.  In fact, it's WHY I went to grad school, so I could teach at the college level.  And since it's part time, I wouldn't have to go to every faculty meeting, mwahahahaha!!!!!
Oh, and I'd get to teach students who actually WANT to be there, and don't need a babysitter.  'Cause as adorable as my young little students are, I'm flippin' exhausted, lol!

On a more serious note, I don't think I'm cut out to teach kids that young.  I can't teach and direct a play if I'm trying to keep 20 kids quiet, in the room, and out of danger. I wasn't hired to babysit, and that's not what I'm good at. At this point, with 4 weeks left, I figure if we get all the kids on stage and all the lines said in something resembling the right order, it will be a big win.
But, to me, it feels like a failure.  I've written before about my beginnings as a teacher, and how I try to uphold those standards.  Well, I'm a far cry from that with this one class, I'm sad to say.  To be honest, I don't think these kids are learning anything, and I KNOW a few of them are not enjoying it at all.  And, because I'm me, I take it to heart.  I feel like a failure every Tuesday.  I feel like I'm spending a good part of the 90 minutes getting their attention and then losing it after 60 seconds.  Some of the kids have even said they may not show up for the play.

But I also refuse to take the FULL blame: Honestly, if you're gonna run a program like this, there have to be some standards about who can participate.  And while I usually like to be all-inclusive, it's impossible to run this class with this many kids and one adult when some of the kids are being dumped into the class against their will.  Quite frankly, some of them are too young.  And I have a suspicion there are a couple with attention deficit issues.  As a parent of special needs kids, I am all for inclusion, but only in environments where it has at least a chance of being successful. Otherwise it can push children backwards and do way more harm than good.
It would probably help if I had at least one other person  in the classroom with me.  Even a middle or high school student.  Someone to ride herd, as it were, while I did the work I was hired to do.
Finally, I have a feeling I'm not the only one to have had issues at this particular school. Just from rumblings I've heard.

Is it because it's a wealthy community?  Maybe in part.  I have a feeling some of these kids are used to getting what they want, and expect to be constantly entertained.  Well, I'm not a trained monkey. I'm not there to entertain. I'm not there to mediate the fights and arguments, to force kids to apologize to each other when they hurt one another's feelings, or to punish them.  More honesty: if I have to listen to all the tattling, the "It's not fair"s and the "This is boring"s for much longer, I may end up in a padded room.  I realize that sounds b**chy, but it's true. Like I said, I'm not cut out to teach this age group.

So I highly doubt I will be teaching this class again next semester, lol!  (Even if I wanted to I don't think they'd have me back.)

On the bright side, these past couple of years have clarified what I DON'T want to do!  And that's pretty valuable.  There have been times when I've beaten myself up, telling myself there's something wrong with me because I don't want to teach the classes I've been teaching, but that is simply NOT true!  They have been a struggle and not at all satisfying, which tells me they are better suited to someone else, someone who has a passion for that.  I have a passion, it's just not getting the proper outlet.  And that's not a defect, it's simply circumstances.  I honestly believe I have a lot to offer as an instructor; I just need to find the right fit.  (And I'll say it again: my Thursday class is a freakin' DREAM COME TRUE!!!!!! The polar opposite of Tuesday!)

Another problem, I suppose, is that I did my teacher training with a group that I believe has the best educational theater program in the country.  I suppose I got spoiled, and I've been trying to recreate that experience ever since I left.
Part of me regrets leaving.  Many of the people who joined the program at the same time I did are still there, still doing that amazing work.  But I would have missed out on the life I have now if I'd stayed.  I wouldn't have met my husband, and I wouldn't have my kids.  And even the thought of that is unbearable.

So there's this little voice which, over the years, has been getting louder and louder:  What if I DID re-create it?  Here?  Rather than going back, move it west?  I have one friend who has done just that.  Granted, when he started he was single and childless. (and is now married with twin boys!!!!!)  But he is the creator and artistic Director of the Tennessee Shakespeare Company, which is an AMAZING company!  What he has created is pretty mind-blowing, and I can't help but kvel.  So if you ever find yourself in the Memphis/Germantown area, go check 'em out.

***Weird Coincidence!  As I write this a song came on the radio that I used to listen to (on cassette) every morning as I drove to work AT THAT THEATER COMPANY I'VE BEEN WRITING ABOUT! In 1994!  And it wasn't a single off of the album!  SPOOOOOOKY!!!!!!!!

Anyway.  Thanks for reading all my emotional vomit/pity partying.  I'm gonna go turn off my brain and watch some TV.  Or, better yet, listen to "80's Friday Night" on the radio.

Have a great weekend!


The Merry said...

I hate the thought of children being dumped into programs that, while worthwhile, are too advanced for the child -- simply because the parent thought they were being a Good Parent for doing so.
And I was put into the Suzuki music program as a child, which is a program designed to teach young children how to play music before they could even read it. (Not disparaging the Suzuki method, just saying that some children benefit from being pushed beyond their comfort zones, while others do not.)

azusmom said...

Exactly! I don't want to make these kids feel stressed or bored or hate drama. And I think that's exactly what's happening with some of them!