Sunday, December 03, 2006


Some theorists believe that students perform better when their teachers are readily accessible. The KIPP schools encourage a high level of interaction between student and teacher, so much so that teachers are available to students well after the school day has ended.
Since joining the teaching force, I have practiced my belief that students perform better when they have a degree of "buy in," or connection with their teachers. For me, this has meant chaperoning dances, attending extra-curricular events, and taking an interest beyond academic success. But for me, there is also a limit that I feel I need to set with my students. I need time away from the classroom, when I can be Mr. McNamar the husband, the father, the buddy, and all of the other essential aspects of my humanness.
One such area of my life that I've always wished to maintain as my own is my faith. My place of worship is seventeen miles away from the school. When I saw a student at my place of worship, I grew uneasy. As if my private place, my solitude, had been invaded. My wife says I am being selfish; perhaps that is true, but I am already as accessible to my students as I want to be. Can't I get one place for myself.
I live in the community where I teach. As a result, I often see students while I am shopping for my groceries, my clothing, or whatever else I might want or need. Again, this is an important part of teaching to me, to invest in the community where I work. Yet, even in those moments when I happen across a student at the mall, I've always felt out of place.
Teaching requires a persona, not a change in who we are at the core, but to some extent we must act like we are on stage. I have a reptuation among my students; that reputation is why some students sign up for my class and some don't. But I don't always want to be on stage. Sometimes, I just want to be reserved and not outgoing; humble and not brazen.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home