Lost Causes – Updated
Please take some time to read this beautiful post by a teacher whose blog I have been reading for some time now. Like, go click the link below and read the whole thing right now:
What I Wish I Could Tell Them About Teaching in a Title I School by Love, Teach.
A small part:
I’m also not writing this for proof or validation that I work hard. I don’t have anything to prove about my work ethic or value as a teacher, to myself or anyone else, and this is not meant to initiate a game of “who has it worse.”
No. I’m writing this because I care about what happens to my students, and other children like them in Title I schools across this country whose needs are not being met, and who are learning harmful lessons from the larger systems in place that are supposed to help them. I am writing this to give others a picture of the type of learning and teaching environments that are being created by these systems. I’m writing because it’s 2015, and far too many children in this country are still receiving a lower quality education because of the neighborhood into which they were born. (Love, Teach)
I am in a much easier situation than this brave soldier. I do not, and have not ever, taught in a Title I public school.
But I am a teacher too, and so my heart breaks.
I would tell them that it feels like I have three choices: 1) stay where I am, continue working hard and destroy myself, 2) stay and protect myself by putting in less effort, or 3) leave and abandon a profession and kids I care about. (Ibid)
She’s in an impossible situation.
And yet, and yet, when I was reading her post, something inside me kept saying, “No!”
I don’t want this teacher to leave.
I don’t know who she is, and heaven knows I do not know what she has been through, but she is exactly the type of person — exactly the particular person — we need to stay with our kids, because she loves them. Because she gets it. Because she teaches with everything she’s got, and it’s only in losing your life that you can find it.
At least, I know many of her kids have found it.
Or maybe I feel so strongly about this because I need to believe that it is possible to stay, even under such circumstances.
If teaching drives away all of us who love our kids, by breaking our hearts and breaking our spirits, who will be left?
The teachers that don’t care enough for the injustice of our country’s school systems to affect them? The teachers that don’t try hard enough so that the job seems like the stereotypical “Christmas breaks” and “summers off” vacation? The teachers who print out worksheets every day and show movies so they don’t have to deal with the real intellectual and emotional challenge of encountering young human souls?
Not everyone is called to be a teacher. And not everyone who is called to be a teacher needs to be one forever. Perhaps I am overstepping my bounds.
But we need more teachers like this wonderful young woman who has given the last five years of her life to a seemingly “lost cause” — perhaps it is, indeed, lost for all practical purposes.
A wise lady once told me, “In every crucifixion there is a resurrection.”
Perhaps we are not going to see any clear resurrection for ourselves here.
But even for the lost causes, the most horrific crucifixions, I believe in the parable of the seed that falls to the earth and dies.
Jimmy Stewart’s character says, in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,
I guess this is just another lost cause, Mr. Paine. All you people don’t know about the lost causes. Mr. Paine does. He said once they were the only causes worth fighting for. And he fought for them once, for the only reason that any man ever fights for them. Because of just one plain simple rule: ‘Love thy neighbor.’ (Source. “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”)
It’s worth watching the whole scene. I hope the author of “Love, Teach,” watches this:
Also, this, by Emily Genser at the Huffington Post: “Don’t You Quit”
The Washington Post is publishing Love, Teach’s beautiful reflection here.
Anyone who loves kids and education needs to read it.