Balancing Act

22 May

This is Jason posting.

This is yet another posting about my experiences during student teaching.  Here is another observation/revelation that I had.  I think in every class you will always end up having a few students who just aren’t motivated to learn.  They slack off and goof off.  As a teacher, you have several options.  You can put a lot of effort and time in keeping those students on task.  They will require constant attention and require much effort to keep them motivated to work hard.  At times this might mean they will flare up and have a battle with you.  It will definitely disrupt the class.  It will probably end up with them having to go to the office at times.  What eventually happens?  The teacher can just automatically send them to the office whenever such a flare up happens.  This results in these troubled students not having the opportunity to learn because they aren’t in class.  Or the teacher can leave them alone to goof off in their corner.  Perhaps the troubled students have a strange peace with the teacher.  The teacher leaves them alone and the students keep themselves entertained quietly while the rest of the class goes on.  This gives several advantages.  The rest of the class is able to keep on task and not be disrupted by the teacher/trouble student flare-ups.  The troubled students are able to stay in class and hopefully absorb some learning by just simply being there.  And lastly, the teacher can put that extra effort in teaching the rest of the class.

I realized this.  Yet… it doesn’t sit easily with me.  But I can understand how that happens.  It can be so easy.  Yet the other option of motivating them, fighting with them at times… simply caring for them to learn and be better.  It’s a hard option.  It requires a lot of effort, time and pain.  Yes, it might disrupt the class.  The “results” might be small quantitatively.  But…qualitatively?  I think it will be huge.  Perhaps really huge in at least 1 kid’s life.  But wow, to have to do that? and keep the rest of the class moving?  Keep everyone else on task and learning?  That is amazing.  It’s not easy.  I don’t think those troubled kids should just be left alone.  They need that persistent teacher who won’t let them quit.  They need that someone who can see their potential and believe in them.  Caring can and will probably lead to disappoint from time to time.  The rewards?  I think that can last a whole lifetime.  Teachers have such a crazy environment in that classroom.  They have this to balance with their energy and time.  Teachers also have to balance between pushing new material and making sure kids understand the material.  They have so much to do.  It is simply amazing.  Who would want to be a teacher? Wow.

I can see how teachers are seriously underpaid.  Yet… I can also see how their pay is appropriate.  Not every teacher will care.  They will just teach the lesson and get on with the class.  Some won’t put in the time to care for those students who really need it.  For them, the pay is more than what they earned.  Balance.  It’s everywhere in this teaching profession.  Strangely it reminds me of how a Christian should live their life.  It is all a razor sharp line to walk in life.

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