I am a teacher by trade, but I am not a great teacher. Not by the longest of long shots. In fact, I would characterize what I currently do as creating the appearance of being rigorous, while greatly desiring to actually be rigorous. But perhaps this is alright… for now.
I think that the value I bring—and this may just be me clinging desperately to one beautiful delusion—is that desire. I do want to be successful at the job that I happen to have, but that isn’t enough. Rather, I find the English language to be so completely wonderful that I simply must interact with it on an hourly basis. Language is so beautiful in its effability and malleability. Writing manages to be both necessary in its practice and deeply cathartic as a means of personal expression. By the same token, literature is quite possibly the most important teacher of culture and thinking.
And so I approach what I do with the utmost reverence as it must be the most important of jobs. I feel the profound weight of responsibility to impart both an appreciation for the beauty of literature but also a working understanding of language as the fundamental tools for communication.
Yet, doing so is not so simple as stepping into a classroom and giving a stirring movie-script speech. To be effective, I must design and prepare and deliver and reflect (and repeat… infinitely) in order to create opportunities for learning. This is where I find myself falling short.
I could very easily spend an entire weekend creating a one or two period’s-worth of scripted lectures and educational activities. Trust me, I have done this. Of course, this seems appropriate to me during the first few weeks of school. However, I know that if I attempt to maintain this pace, I’ll be dead before fall break. Don’t get me wrong, I’d die with a dignified half-smile and heart full of pride, but I’d like to live long enough to actually become proficient as an educator.
I need to begin with what is most important, and build upon what I can handle. I need to be alright with taking a few shortcuts for the sake of my emotional stability. I need to not get hung up on the aesthetics of old worksheets that have been photocopied so many times that they are faded and crooked. I need to lean on the expertise and support of the amazing faculty that I currently work with; it just so happens that they want me to be successful as well.
Perhaps being Medium Quality simply means coming to grips with the reality that I am not as good as I want to be… for now.