Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Moment of Grace

One of the two great English professors I had in college taught me to love Flannery O'Conner's strange world of grace. Professor Young loved to help us understand that in life we are often offered such strange moments of grace which we can accept or deny.
In a post I wrote about leading a professional development session, I came under intense scrutiny for the self-righteousness of that post and a post about the 10 Most Annoying Staff Members. In the ensuing comments, Ms. Ungerle challenged my purpose for teaching. She pointed out that many of my recent posts boil with disdain for the building I teach in and fester with a lack of belief in my current lot of students. Her observations are not without merit.
The post before this one admits that I am floundering in a funk of epic proportion. I am tired. Spent. I find myself regularly wondering if this career is worth my effort. Teaching in a diseased, and that really is the word to describe the environment, school has caused me to question my ability, my dedication, and my purpose. Coach Brown and Ms. V offered their support, which is part of why I blog--to remember that I am fallible and that I need encouragement as much as my students.
So it came as a moment of grace when I opened Nathan Miller's Teaching in Circles. I am profoundly jealous of his memoir because he was able to put into a book what I've been ruminating for the last month. But more importantly, his story was exactly what I needed at the moment. Has it navigated me out of the doldrums, probably not. Yet, it brought me comfort.


At 9:48 PM , Blogger Ms. V. said...

LOL You have me confused with Marcy, a running blogger...but no worries!

What kills me is that you are out here...questioning, ruminating, pondering. You're not on some high mountain dictating.

What you're going through is what good teachers do. Pity the poster who doesn't get that.

At 8:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you're talking about. It seems as if teachers either quit or adopt a zealous attitude that doesn't allow for someone to approach the job with less than full enthusiasm.

That does nothing for all of us out there doing what we think is the best we can but still unsure that it's succeeding, or that we should be trying in the first place.

Glad to hear the book resonated with you. My point wasn't to make anyone feel magically better, but to give permission to feel unsure of oneself.

At 2:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked this post. Very honest with yourself, and your readers. Teaching in Circles is a great read!!

The absolute most important thing to remember in a negative situation is to maintain YOUR perspective and attitude is everything? Is it a negative school? Then make your classroom a safe-haven of positivity. Are the rules ignored? Then enforce them in your room. Give yourself sanity in your space, and the rest can do as it will.

nice post!

-Mr. Cassidy the average educator

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