Observation 5- Winter
I want to change lives. I want to make each young person that I come into contact with feel valuable, worthy and accomplished. Today, I had to make a mandatory report to DHS due to some confidential information written in a student journal. DHS reporting is not something that makes me nervous, as I have had the opportunity to work with young people for a long time. In my professional role as a life coach at a local non-profit I have been trusted with information like this before. However, no matter how many times I have listened while a young person tells me about something that should have never happened to him or her, the nausea never goes away and the tears still flood my eyes (although I have gotten better at never letting them show until after the student has gone).
Since beginning this teaching experience in January, and starting to work through a novel that has very heavy content, I have found some of my biggest fears are very closely tied with some of my biggest goals. I am very concerned with the moral of each and every student that I come into contact with. I want students to trust me, to feel that they have the ability to learn and grow in the safety of the learning community that has been and will be created in my classroom. I want students to be able to jump knowing that when they land there will be some cushion for them to fall onto. While these goals continue showing themselves, the fear of their comfort, their safety and well as the learning community’s growth as a whole keeps me from diving deeper into issues that I feel are important to discuss.
It is extremely difficult to walk into a classroom and hold both care and concern as well as absolute authority. This is a balance I haven’t found yet. I want to smile at each of them, create a special bond with each of them but that is hard to do when I am also the one to send them to detention or give them a failing grade on something they did not put their best effort forward on.
Today, after I made the call to DHS and talked with another teacher, I realized that although making reports to DHS is not the most fun part of being a teacher, it is a big part of the responsibility. When the student wrote, “Mrs. Pierce Only” on her journal entry, she was deciding to trust me with a precious secret. She felt safe enough to let me know. So, as I held back the tears and filled out paper work, I knew that while I’m still working on becoming a better teacher, the battle between my biggest goals and biggest fears is worth fighting, even if she is the only one whose life is changed by it.