Originally posted on August 2, 2011 at yoteach
Where have I been?! The short answer: I lost my voice in December. This was a bleak, brutal year, survived only by my inability to “speak.” I missed being able to write, to talk, to unravel the knot of anxiety, and fear, and anger, and anger, and anger sitting tight in my chest. But I believe that knot was the only thing holding me together, and I’m so much less productive if I’m falling apart every day.
Other things that fell by the wayside this year, I taught and planned and taught and planned and tried to keep my head above the ever-mounting demands of attempting to be the newspaper and yearbook “editor”: my yoga schedule, teacher book club, tango lessons, any regular work on my personal writing, the vast majority of my weeknight plans, and the teacher-research project I had foolishly signed onto in my first year at a new school. Through the New York City Writing Project, myself and a small group of other teachers resolved to identify an area of our teaching in which we felt need for improvement or development, or around which we felt tension. Entering a new school to a chorus of headlines and tirades about the laziness, villainy, and uselessness of teachers, my entire practice strained under the tension of self-doubt. Everything I did, I was convinced, needed improvement, development, or a complete overhaul. I had no time, I bounced from one awful thing I did to another with no productivity to speak of, and always in the background screamed a smear campaign that began to convince even me that I was greedy, that I did not work hard enough, that I did not deserve this job.
Thankfully, my mentor is a great teacher, the kind who recognizes that students are individual people and deserve unique approaches, and she rescued me from my panic with the suggestion that I use this space to respond to some of that media-roar. So that’s the plan. If nothing else, maybe I can quiet the din in my chock-full brain.
I’m starting high, with this video from the Save Our Schools March that took place in Washington, D.C. this past weekend. Diane Ravitch’s address was one of many inspiring, invigorating speeches, and I’m posting it to remind myself to take heart. Response tomorrow!