Friday, September 21, 2012

My Search for My Inner Teacher | Edwize

My Search for My Inner Teacher | Edwize:


My Search for My Inner Teacher

Bathroom passYou don’t understand, Miss. I’m peeeeeiiiing,” Samantha says on the third day of school. Her request reminds me of Nora, a student from last year. Both Samantha and Nora chose to loudly request to go to the bathroom as they entered the classroom just the day after I explained to my high school students the process for silently asking to go only after the first 10 minutes of class had passed.
When Nora tried that move last year, I remember being caught without a proper response. I was torn. I did not know who I was as a teacher yet. I wanted to appear nice, but also unyielding.
I wanted Nora to know that I cared about her but also that I was the boss of my math classroom. I wanted to show the whole class that I was reasonable, but I also wanted to show them that the expectations I had put in place for them were real. The semblance of confidence in myself as a teacher that I had mustered together for those first few days of school withered in the face of this seemingly minor challenge.
After about 17 too many seconds of thought, I meekly asked her if she really needed to go right that second. She nodded with conviction, grabbed the bathroom pass from my hands and skipped out the door with a triumphant smile on her face, taking my dignity and authority as a teacher with her.
In those early weeks and months, every time a student challenged my authority — in little ways like when 

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