Like so many new teachers, I have had to learn the hard way that I cannot fully trust my students, no matter how close I feel to them or how responsible they may seem.
A few days ago, my camera was stolen during a passing period, when I left it on my desk for a few moments to slow an influx of kids into my classroom. The students are always a bit off the walls right after lunch and I was hoping to avoid chaos at the front of my classroom.
Instead, I lost my camera.
And while, of course I was upset at losing a $500 camera, I was far more upset about how violated I felt. After all, I brought the camera in to take pictures of their presentations and already had two classes worth of photographs stored in the memory card. On top of that, the class that came in right after the theft did the best job of all, and I got exactly zero pictures of them presenting.
Honestly, I’m somewhat surprised something like this didn’t happen to me sooner. I’m a pretty trusting person and truly wanted to believe in every single one of my students. Now my faith in them is somewhat shaken, knowing that one of them could do something so wrong and still look me in the face the next day.
This is so counter to everything I want to believe and everything the Teaching Fellows program has told me about having high expectations for students. If I can’t trust them with a camera, how can I expect them to take class responsibly? It becomes clearer and clearer to me why teachers become jaded or leave the profession all together. I work so hard and give so much of myself only for them to slap my face and fail classes anyway. It almost makes me want to give up.
But there’s the funny thing about being an almost-second-year teacher – I’m not giving up. Sure, I took a night off and sulked around watching stupid movies, but in the end, I went back to school and found new reasons to enjoy teaching. Resilience seems to be the most important ingredient in making a first-year teacher. Without it, I’d be long gone by now.
Wednesday was a great day, despite the fact that I’m still a bit wary around the school building. I’m trying hard to stay in the teaching groove because, in the end, a camera is just a camera and there are more important things at stake in my line of work. I suppose I’ll just chalk it up to costs of the job and get on with the real work.