Re-blogging this latest post from Larry Cuban as well…
Ellie nailed it. In my brief time teaching, especially this past school year, I lived these moments too often. So much so I sought respite from teaching algebra (where mostly freshman struggle behaviorally with their transition to high school) this coming school year. I broke under the stress and strain of too many students like Gio, Fernie, Tiffany, and Peter feeding off of each others challenges in a classroom, destroying the learning environment and nearly everything around them, metaphysically speaking.
The irony is I became a teacher with the (naive) hope of helping just these students but now realize I, as a teacher of many, am unable to salve the deep wounds of the few in any material manner as the staccato nature of their outbursts were too difficult to predict or to address while directing the learning of dozens of others.
Each of the following quotes from Ellie’s piece resonate deeply with me.
Once, I had three in one class, turning it into a Lord of the Flies situation with clusters of high-achieving girls taking me aside in a weeping, enraged circle and demanding that the three boys with extreme behavior problems be removed permanently from the class.
“Teaching,” Cynthia Castillo told me, “is an act of faith.” I remember. I hope to get there.
Taken from “About” in Herman’s blog:
My name is Ellie Herman. If you want to find out what I’m doing here and why, click here on why I’m writing this blog. I’ve been working on this project since the beginning of September….
As for my bio, I’m a writer and English teacher. From 2007 to 2013, I taught Drama, Advanced Drama, Creative Writing, English 11 and 9th grade Composition at a charter high school in South Los Angeles.
Before that, I was a writer/producer for many TV shows, including The Riches, Desperate Housewives, Chicago Hope and Newhart. My fiction has appeared in many literary journals, including The Massachusetts Review, The Missouri Review and the O.Henry Awards Collection.
I attended public schools in Winnetka, Illinois from kindergarten through high school and graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a degree in English. I have a teaching credential from Cal State Northridge. My three children attended Oakwood School, a private school…
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