Friday, October 26, 2012

31 Days of W.I.C.: Day 18- Sometimes the Dragon Wins

"As this big world's always spinning
All that I thought I was winning
I never thought, I never thought I'd lose.."

"Vineyard", Jackopierce

I started my first year of teaching with the highest hopes and expectations.
I ended it  hoping to never teach again.
 It was that bad.

My favorite part of this is how apathetic the dragon is. He just doesn't care.

My brother had this picture on his bulletin board growing up. It came to mind all year. I felt like that crunchy, crisp-fried knight, picked to pieces by the derelict dragon. Two people saved me that year: Cynthia and Janet. I watched them having fun while teaching. I saw them be creative. They had a 'partner in crime'. And they let me in on it. They showed me that that great teachers use teamwork, fun, high standards, and perseverence. Great teachers reach out. Great teachers learn from their failures and keep going.

There will be times of failure... the kid you've been trying to reach gives up (or violates his parole or drops the F-bomb in the middle of a trip to the library..not that this has happened to me or anything..), the parents take the child and disappear, the lesson that rocked in your head fizzled in the classroom, your principal decides you may be the reason the education system is in dire straits, there are behavior problems you can't seem to get managed, the teacher next door is petty and spiteful, everyone flunks the big test... It's going to happen. Sometimes it will happen in front of everyone.

One of the great lies out there is that there's some sort of magical formula that you adhere to and then *poof!* success -guaranteed. There are things that you can do to get the odds in your favor, but when it comes to people (which, if we haven't noticed, there are a lot of at school), there are no guarantees. Just know that failure is as much a part of this as success. And we actually need to fail.

We need it because we have students who have done nothing but fail at school since they put their sweet feet through the door. They need our compassion. How can we teach someone to overcome if we've never faced an obstacle? We need it because we'll always have a first year teacher at our school, or someone who is having a particularly tough year, and we'll need to remember what it felt like when the dragon scorched us. We'll need to reach out. We need it because it reminds us that we really can get up and go on. We've failed and bounced back before, right?

Sometimes the dragon wins...
but, for every knight,
tomorrow is another day.

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