Teaching is a struggle. At least it is for me. It's a struggle to reach each individual student, while making sure not to leave any behind. It's a struggle to keep those gifted students intellectually stimulated while making sure to not teach over the head of those who are not on the same level. It is a struggle because on a day to day basis you are never sure of what is going to work and what is going to flop. It is a struggle because of the attitude some kids bring with them. Despite popular belief, it is not my job to be your personal entertainer on a daily basis. It is a struggle to compete with the countless distractions at these kids' fingertips. Ipods, laptops, and cell phones are now standard issue for teenagers. It is a struggle to overhear kids being mean, cruel, and spiteful towards each other. A week doesn't go by I'm not taken with the urge to grab a kid and ask if it is really that hard to just be kind to each other? It is a struggle to overcome the feelings of inadequacy that creep in. Am I truly the right man for this job?
But at other times, it is a joy. At other times I am reminded why I wanted to do this in the first place. I am reminded these kids are all ready to be molded, and perhaps I am right where I need to be. At other times I am reminded of the lack of positive influences in these kids' lives. I am reminded that to be adequate is to show up, to let them know that there is someone who cares about them as people, cares about their success. At other times I am reminded that they are just kids, and I like kids.
Some days, I really enjoy this job.