Tip of the Wreckage

Well, I should be preparing my presentations and lessons for tomorrow, but I’m onto Sam Adams Winter Lager numero dos and I’m feeling lackadaisacal and somewhat inclined to write, which is a rarity nowadays. I guess I’ve just never been one to post a lot about my occupation and employment, and that’s where all of my energy and application of thought has been going. Also, a lot of my feelings have been that of anger, despair, and overwhelming stress, and those aren’t exactly things that I need to share consistently with the wider world.

I don’t know if I’ve conveyed exactly the situation that is my everyday, but to make it clear, it’s not something that’s pleasant to face, unless you enjoy being disrespected, slandered, lied to, cussed out, threatened, etc, on a continuous basis. And it’s not simply enough to say that my students are children, or that they have really tough lives, or that they have disabilities. Sometimes, I’m just a human being too, and I need some kind of positivity to keep me going.

But I’m learning how to keep my head straight, see some humor in their inability to say something pleasant, and keep my cool as a professional and leader and adult. I’m learning how to use yelling as a level-headed strategy, only employed when I need to get it through to them that I really care, not when I’m actually angry. I’ve been doing a lot more empathetic talk, one-on-one chats outside the classroom about how to cope with anger. I’ve been ignoring challenges to my authority more instead of getting sucked into squabbling. And I’ve been learning more about their home lives, getting just enough of a glimpse to put into context their attitude at school and why they never turn in homework.

Sometimes, I’ve discovered, I’m the one that has to try to convince the parent that there’s hope for their child.

Anyway, that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much shit going on each day that I don’t even really know how to cope with it, to be honest. This is warfare. The only problem is, the war is far beyond anything that myself or my students can grapple with. We just bear the effects, and struggle through the bricolage, fighting with shadows, fighting with enemies who should be friends, fighting ourselves.


Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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