Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Is This Thing On?
Back. Like what? Cooked crack? Nah, more like Sparks, two cans for $6; I’m there, and I’ll do the job, but I ain’t what the fiends are after.

I try, don’t get me wrong, and that’s more than a lot of folks. And I manage to develop a pretty good rapport with my kids. We like each other, and they generally trust me, which is something. I can’t control the little bastards though, and more than that, I’ve yet to really stir up any love of knowledge, any real curiosity in anybody. More and more, I think that’s what it takes to be a truly great teacher, and it takes a truly great teacher to do that.

Either you got it or you don’t.

I don’t think it should be that way, and I don’t think it has to be. If we put enough of that war money and resources in the schools I think we could make them competent and exciting enough that a regular dude, with a little hard work and some training, could succeed just fine. Right now though, us regular teachers, try as we might, either end up quitting or miserable, and that’s a fact you can see in the empty seats where my young colleagues have all disappeared, and in the weary eyes of those older folks who are sticking around complaining about the boss and counting the days until retirement.

I’m sticking with it; I’m a stubborn kind, but this summer has been one of wondering if I really have what it takes. These aren’t the heated, emotional, feelings of wanting to quit after a terrible week or on a particularly dreary Monday, these are the sober (well, not exactly) musings of one whose spent the better part of two months sitting around in his underwear listening to southern black folks rap about selling cocaine and waiting for the new season of LOST to premier.

And that’s the thing, that’s how I know I don’t have the magic. I care deeply about my kids and the plight of our nation and its youth in general, but when I’m not at school the last thing on my mind is curriculums or lesson plans or teachable moments. I’m too busy obsessing about college football, rocking out to the Caps and Jones Lemon-Red mix, or lately, working myself into a desperate rage over this hurricane and Mike Brown and Barbara “Marie Antoinette” Bush and the subsequent politics of abandonment Katrina has exposed in the worst possible way.

I’m passionate about a lot of things, including my students. I’m just not sure I’m passionate about teaching, not in the way the great ones are at least.

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