It’s powerful to help a student see themselves in a different light with a different ability than he or she saw. It’s powerful when you get to walk with a student through the redefining waters and he or she comes out on the other side more confident and more willing to see the possibilities of what lies ahead.
In the midst of standardization testing season, I was working with a student and was able to help her see herself as a poet, through texting. Being a teacher without a classroom has expanded my idea of what constitutes teaching. For me, right now it isn’t that I have my own classroom and students come to me every weekday morning, but rather that I encounter students who ask me questions as I am in the midst of something else.
For me there were hours of teaching and days of teaching and days off from those things, but now I realize that teaching isn’t a place or a profession is a part of who someone is and that part of you and me can’t be dropped in the dirty clothes basket at 4 or 5 or 6 Monday through Friday.
Most teachers I know, know this, but there is something about the intense pressure that is about of the teaching experience right now that even the best teachers, even the ones who don’t hide when they see their students in the grocery store are finding that they have to have a period of time to “turn off” their teacherness in order to survive and get up and do it all again the next day.
We are wearing our best teachers to the bone, banking on the fact that there will be more teachers who want to enter the profession if they burn out. It’s too much even for the best teachers.