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October 15, 2005

15 Outubro 2005

I think I’ve decided to stick with teaching this year.  Although
I’m quite confident that I prefer the role of being a
behind-the-scenes, community activist to my current role in the
classroom, there are too many other lives I must consider in making
this decision.  It is not just my life that’s in play, but the
lives of 20 children who would face too much uncertainty in the
classroom if I were to leave.  Would they receive a long-term
substitute like many of them had last year?  Or, worse yet, would
they be split up among the other two second-grade classrooms, leaving
Cayuga with two too-crowded classes (and leaving my current colleagues
with more gray hairs than their ages warrant)? 

I also can’t help but think of R and Z, two of my boys who demonstrate
potential to develop into positive, engaged classroom leaders, but who
also show signs of forming hard shells instead as they grow out of
their youthful skin.  I can’t bear the thought of these two boys
receiving a teacher who will use punishment and yelling to keep their
energy and immaturity in check rather than positive
reinforcement.  Not that all urban educators use these strategies
to manage their classrooms, but many do, and while I’m not sure that I
can be the best reading, writing, math, science, and social studies
instructor that my second graders could hope for (since I’m still
learning what it is that second graders learn), I am confident that I
can help them develop into young role models rather than young parolees.

Having made this decision, I feel confident that I’ll make the most out
of the remainder of the school year.  I’ll make enough time for
myself to do the things that really arouse my passions so that teaching
doesn’t burn me out, and I’ll examine my teaching experience through
the lense of an intellectual, taking apart–or “unpacking,” as TFA
likes to say–my decisions, actions, reactions, successes and failures
as a second-grade teacher.  I will also do my best to get to know
my kids and their families, for they are part of Philadelphia’s
majority and as such are the present and future of the city.  They
are the people with whom I want to work, learn, and grow both this year
and in years to come.

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