Now I Get It!
I have new-gained respect and admiration for high school teachers. I am teaching only 2 hours a day, four days a week, for 6 weeks with only 15 students in a class (total of 30). Of course, I spend a good 3-4 hours in the campus Learning Center – making myself available to students and reading and responding to their work. I wonder how the heck a high school teacher can deal with these kids, with this kind of energy 4-6 periods a day, 5 days a week, week after week throughout a semester.
I confess that though I love these students and this experience, I am exhausted by it. I leave at the end of my day thoroughly worn out – mentally and emotionally. Yet at the same time, I am oddly rejuvenated by these students as well. On all counts – this teaching experience is filled with strange juxtapositions.
I don’t like that word, “incompetencies.” These students are not incompetent – they are just not competent – yet. They are evolving, developing and working towards mastery – not of the subject material per se, but of themselves. Their major task is to develop an understanding of who they are, and to gain control and mastery of themselves.
Four weeks into the six-week session, and now I get it: at this level, instruction in writing and writing practice should be in service to the task of developing self-knowledge and self-mastery.