I love the relationships I’m building with my students. They seem to be trusting me more and more, as I get to know their quirks and moods better. I’m getting better at working with them through their frustrations when the work we do in class is difficult. I got told by one student that I give the most work in class and another told me I have a reputation as a “cool’ teacher (which I may have lost by admitting I own an Android). All on the same day!
It hurts me to see them in pain, especially when there’s only so much I can do to help. But one student thanked me for letting her go to the bathroom when she was having a breakdown in class. So at least I did something that meant something for her. I also have a couple students know that they can ask for breaks when they feel overwhelmed or stressed out.
However, I am, and will always be troubled by what happens to my students outside of the classroom. Especially my students of color. I’ve seen teachers who lack compassion and lack understanding of their privilege in action, laying down microaggressions on POC students and parents. One teacher specifically categorized a group of mostly Black boys as troublemakers and children who didn’t have good role models at home. One of those boys was a student of mine.
As a Black teacher, I know I have to assess a situation before raising my voice. I’ve faced retaliation before for speaking up for myself, including losing a job and job opportunities. And having grown up in this county and school system, I know that finding safe spaces to do so is either impossible or close to it. But I have to figure it out–for both me and my students.
This week was not the best week, but it was far from terrible. After a few weeks of one or two-day holidays, it was nice to be in the rhythm of a full five-day week. I can’t wait for the next holiday though.