rant

I’ve made the decision to do something I have never done before and that is to remove a post. Well, actually, to replace it with this one. I have not been asked to do this by anyone, it is something I have decided to do on my own because, regardless of its intention, its results clash with what I feel is the right thing to do. I never intended to cause harm, to hurt anyone in its posting. It has and I’m truly sorry.

The post was an in-the-moment response to some of the frustrations of teaching. Frustrations that I know others experience, as was evidenced by the number of, “I know where you’re coming from,” comments to the post here and in other forums.

From the get-go, Michael felt I should ‘quietly delete’ the post, while others said no. Susan said that strong emotion teaches strong lessons. Others, that we (teachers) are expected to be devoid of emotion and that reminders of our humanity are needed from time to time. Others, that I should suck it up or leave teaching, that there are certain things I should not reflect on in my blog.

So the intention of the post was to capture my emotion in the moment. I use this blog to record the successes and challenges of teaching for the purpose of reflection and feedback. I strive to be a reflective practitioner. I strive.

I need to step back and look at the context of reflection. Since I began this blog about 3 years ago my audience has changed. It began as an audience of 1 (me) and slowly grew to an audience of a few (me and a few other teachers from other cities and countries), and more recently to a much larger (though still relatively small) audience of readers (teachers and non-teachers, including students, parents, and colleagues).

Does this mean I will stop writing about difficult issues? No. Not at all. But I will do so with a sensitivity for a shifting audience. There are times when my readers won’t agree with what I say but my delivery needs to reflect the values that are dear to me – kindness, compassion, and doing no harm. Indeed, love.

So, I haven’t been asked to remove this post or replace it in any way. But when I reflect on it and the reactions it received within the shifting readership contexts that widening social networks provide blog writers, it is the right thing to do. When I reflect on it and my mission to do no harm, it is the right thing to do.

Tracy
The great thing about learning is that it never, never stops.

7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Uh-oh.

    (Maybe quietly delete this before too much damage is done–we’ve all been there. We’d like to keep you in the classroom.)

    ~Michael

  2. No, we have all been there…and we are (occasionally) allowed to be live humans with feelings. Strong emotions teach lessons. Breathe and continue on.

  3. I know we have all been there and I know I will be there again. I won’t delete it, in fact some of my students have likely read this since it feeds onto facebook, and those who haven’t will hear about it when I see them again on Monday. My colleagues convinced me to go home early on Thursday. I was exhausted. The drive to work is starting to wear me out (68 kms each way), on top of a really demanding workload with some challenging students (as are many students in classrooms across Canada, I know!). Definitely needed some time to breathe, Susan, so I can continue on :)

  4. Oh boy – know that feeling. On Tuesday one of my random triads had three very bright students. Of the three, two decided to pull out a book to read instead of discussing the short stories that we are reading for class with the other student in their group. Poor Anna – when I got around the room and saw that two were reading I asked if they were done. Nope – hadn’t even started talking about the stories – “So, what’s the deal? Just do this. It’s only as boring as you make it.” They weren’t oppositional – just decided that what I wanted them to do was not what they wanted to do. Sorry, not an option.
    I don’t give tests about books. Days like Tuesday make me think that I should.
    Glad you got to take a breath.
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Quilting with middle school students =-.

  5. I feel for you, Tracy; I’ve been there. My first month of teaching in the inner city; I once stopped class, gave them an assignment, and sat and read a book in the front of the classroom–my line: “Someone is going to learn SOMETHING in this room; even if it has to be me.”

    I later learned that many of my colleagues at that school did this frequently.

    Hang in there; you’ll get them in the end.

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