Thursday, October 16, 2008

i'm not black and i'll never be, epilogue

looking over at what i had written yesterday, and having told the story again to my urban education teacher and feeling a few tears coming to my eyes, and real worry beat my forehead, i'd like to comment a bit further on this whole subject.

as i spoke to my urban education teacher about this today, i started to choke up a bit. i really won't relate to them like that, ever, i told her. no, she said, you will in some way. but you're noticing the differences; and i can see it on your face.

my face: furrowed, heavy, sudden, unhappy.

i don't feel great about this; it worries me a lot that, makes me wonder if i will relate to them at all about certain things. it felt like loss, i wrote last night. that's a very abstract thing, loss. but you know how it feels, don't you? how your chest feels punched, not by a fist, but by the bottom end of a metal bucket; and gutless, not in the sense that you're a chicken or scared, just gutless. you feel not so great. for moment, my head sunk down into this, and then i was out of it. i'm over-blowing it, perhaps, but it certainly felt like a sinking moment.

i'm trying to think how i can develop relationships with these kids. maybe i'm a little too eager. one step at a time, after all. next week i have to plan something about the children's rights packet they've been reading for the past two weeks or so. it's a craft project, but i want to make it interesting and personalized. why should they want to do this, is really the question that i want to ask myself when i plan this lesson? what the hell is so special about this, or maybe: how can i make this special enough that they'll be interested in it.

tomorrow i study for the MTEL, the teacher's exam. saturday, i take it. let's hope i can define what a participle is!


Anonymous said...

These things are tricksy - in all honesty they take time. From my experience teaching, you may go through tough periods of feeling different, uncomfortable, detached, and really, really frustrated. But you will come to a point where kids become kids and their "peopleness" becomes part of a more general experience. Its less about you being different and more about how your perspective allows you to have a unique access, bring in new ideas. Find common ground and remember that you are different not separate. This can be your strength.

Andrew said...

yes, very true. i think that'll be something that i'm gonna try and get out in the open, perhaps. they're only sixth graders...we can definitely build a relationship.

time will roll, it'll be good, i know it will.

Alison Fincher said...

I think it was unfair of your para to take over your position in your classroom. It enables your feelings of inadequacy or discomfort in front of your students.

In my experience, kids don't want to be 'related to'--they just want to be loved. You don't have to be a part of the life they've lived if you can show them that you care about them, regardless of their background. You want them to succeed--that's going to involve getting accustomed to working with and trusting people like you who are different.

I really admire you for what you're doing. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers because I know it must be tough. Please don't be discouraged!