Explorations of mind, paths, and life


Posted on August 11, 2008 - Filed Under self reflect

And it starts again…

As I work through pages of journal entries and attend to the posting of grades, I again struggle with the ongoing inattention of students to the responsibilities of their own education. I watch dollars slip through their fingers, and knowing so deeply the challenges of keeping my head above water, learning to manage and balance, I watch as they build debt that I never hope to see unless invested in a home. In fact, many of them who actually finish, see a final balance equivalent to our modest mortgage. I can’t force them to do anything, and I ethically refuse to pass them if they don’t do the work, and so I struggle with my part in their education. I sometimes wonder if I should work for a non-profit instead. But again, I LOVE the diversity of this environment. I love the small bits of growth that I see in self-awareness through teaching, modeling, and encouragement. I love having the students who DO invest the time, who care about the outcome, who REALLY want the success they profess to see ahead of them. I am noticing that I just don’t have the energy for the work I invest in their education as much as I had. I detest going back and adding grades that should have been put in my book weeks earlier. I loathe the time it takes to go backwards when so many students try hard to keep ahead of the game. I cringe when a student approaches with an excuse, even when valid, because I know that means I will bend for their benefit, but it isn’t reciprocated with timeliness often. And, I HATE when I see final grades of F in my grade book. I don’t take it personally. I know it has nothing to do with me and more to do with the student and all the things they have going on in their life.

I guess I write this under a pile of papers [pressure], and a pile of exhaustion – meandering wishes that I could just do it all at once – easily. I have the pup at my back, bonking my skin with his wet nose, or making his way under my arm to divert my clicking, and writing, and reading, to insist that I attend to him and stay away from the pile of papers. No amount of music playing can make this easy. I love reading the students narratives, especially the ones who take advantage of the assignment to really grow aware of themselves or chew on the material. I love the narratives because they touch on my own story, and I see clearer that we all share similar stories and narratives. The collective subconscious is more evident – the existential theories of the human condition, placed on paper, through the eyes of students of all ages. I suppose that this is both my favorite and least favorite task, reading the narratives, then mustering through those that are retakes of class content, copies of other people’s writing, lifeless efforts to simply get by. Then, those small morsels of information that are windows into the life of the narrator, pieces of themselves left bare for just a brief moment, fearless and fearful just the same. I then feel honored that I was witness and trusted.

So – I leave with that… a pile, some eye strain, dog bonking, a red pen, a spreadsheet, a yawn, and a sigh.


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