0158: Not Myself: A Critique of My Schizoid* Practice
#education #SOSchat #teaching
I anticipate this post being rough for me. I have some personal criticisms of my own practice as of late. I espouse a democratic classroom. I expect my students to participate in the decision making process, engage in discussion, disagree, agree, and so forth. The class should have a dialogic motor so to speak. I’ve run my classes this way as a choral and music history teacher, I did the same when I taught algebra. It is notable, that the classroom do not always function in a democratic fashion. There have always been times when I’ve limited freedoms and resembled a despot more than a facilitator of learning. In all cases the despot comes out when I feel pressure, external or internal, or when I just get stressed out.
The year is nearing an end. Spring concerts are fast approaching. There’s one more round of standardized tests with which I will undoubtedly be involved. The school has benchmarks to meet to prevent a state takeover. I’m a part of those efforts too. The kids are tired, thus a little unruly. Personally, money’s tight. I’m busy. Blah, blah. The life of a teacher. And, it seems I’ve uncovered some of my problem.
Allowing a class to run democratically requires trust. It requires me to relinquish power and collaborate, rather, than me enforcing my authority. With the risk of straying from my topic I’ll pose a thought. It seems that teaching in some settings/situations/etc. requires or forces a sort of schizoid nature. I’m required to do one thing while believing the opposite. As of late my classroom practice has been the opposite of what I prefer and believe is best. Am I to excuse it with “I’m just doing what I have to do?” Is it the nature of the “system” that is forcing me into a crushing state of doublethink? Am I just being lazy? Am I caught between conflicting sets of expectations?
I’ve arrived at questions. I know things will lighten up soon. But, in the meantime I hate to do harm.
* I struggled between the word schizoid and duplicitous for the title. The informal definition better reflect my sentiment here, as I want to reflect on a the conflicting and disparate elements of my actions as a teacher. Duplicitous reflected a more deliberate and malicious state of being.