A Hidden Truth About Teaching

by talkbackty on Oct 16, 2011

I've been flying high and optimistic on my last few posts in Zen and the Art of Teaching. You can see them here.

Here's a little dose of realism that nobody tells you while you're in college, that you don't understand when you're in high school, and maybe nobody is brave enough to talk about when you're an adult.

Eventually, you have to watch your kids fail. You have to watch them get hurt. You have to see them cry. You have to listen as they tell you horror stories about what happens to them outside of school. Eventually, you have to watch some of them die.

I believe every person handles these things a little differently, but I know for a fact no one is prepared for them. How can someone be prepared for a child you see all the time to tell you they're being assaulted at home?

There is no way to prepare. So instead we don't talk about it. No professor tells you in that intro education class that eventually you'll have to deal with horrible, terrible things happening to your students. To your kids.

I'm not a parent. I don't make any claim to know what a parent feels like when something bad happens to their child. But I can tell you that outside of their parents, I interact with these kids more than any other adult. In the cases where students despise what's happening to them at home, I interact with them more than their "parents."

And it hurts like hell when something bad happens to one of my kids.

I've already talked about the fact that I am in a protector/rescuer by nature. That's just my instinct. I want to help people in need. A past girlfriend of mine liked to refer to the scene from The Blind Side when Leann Tuhoy is talking about how high Michael Oher scored in protective instincts on an aptitude test. This is partly because if I'd ever taken a test like that I would have scored similarly to Oher, and partly because my past girlfriend was a fan of mediocre sports movies.

Nobody talks about these things though. Beyond the petty high school drama that gets joked about so often, there are real, serious issues going on in our schools. I see some people trying to do what they can to help those who have it the worst. At the end of the day though, there is simply not enough being done.

Why aren't we talking about these things?