Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Set Yourself Free

    One of my acquaintances, let's call her Tina, is an expert teacher. She also has a remarkable mind, is an accomplished artist and hates teaching with a passion. Unfortunately, she now not only hates teaching, but hates her students as well. Here's our recent conversation:

Tina: You ATRs have it made! No lesson plans and no responsibility.

Your's Truly: I guess everyone has their own slice of hell. Being an ATR is an insideous method to break people.

Tina: How so?

Y.T. : People live best when each has his place to stand, when each knows where he belongs in the scheme of things and what he may achieve. Destroy the place and you destroy the person.   
(A quote from Frank Herbert.)

Tina: That's true for me also. I can't teach the way I want to - not that I really want to teach at all. The kids know they can do anything and nothing will happen to them. F--K the UFT, they do nothing! I get cursed out and threatened almost daily. I'm sick to my stomach every morning. If it weren't for Xanax and Ambien I'd be dead.

YT: So you've set up an adversarial position with your students and resent the admins.

Tina: Yes, wouldn't you?

YT: Stop and think if you want to continue to be miserable. If you treat the kids as if you really care about them, they'll listen to you. Follow the instructions of the admins when they're in the room observing you.

Tina: What happens if they come in unannounced? I'll be screwed!

YT: Just go to the format they want. You're an excellent teacher and everyone knows it.

Tina: Then why are they going after me?

YT: You never stop complaining in the teacher lounge. You're also at top salary.

Tina: Yeah, I vent a lot.

Y.T. : Just teach the way you want. Even if they go after you because of it, you can retire.

Tina: Yes, I want to do other things.

Y.T. : We only get the one life - do the things you love. Be kind to yourself.

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Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.