I’m going to miss them…
…possibly due to bad aim.
This week is my last week of teaching this academic year. On Tuesday I had my final class with the group affectionately known as “Band of Arseholes”, and on Friday it is my final class with the group we call “TOWIE”. On Tuesday of next week, they have their GCSE English Language exam.
I wish them all the very best of luck, and hope they do well.
I’ve survived. This will be the first year in several years that the students in our particular educational unit have ended the year with the same English teacher that they started it with. They have a reputation for breaking teachers, and each year there is always a fight over who will teach them English—with the loser having to teach them.
This year was different. This year they had someone volunteer—me. Over the course of the year I’ve had plenty tell me I’m mad for volunteering. The students are difficult, unfocused, unmotivated, violent, angry and hostile.
Yes they are. They are also funny, endearing, sincere, scared, naive, innocent, intelligent and curious. It has been a privilege to teach them.
They all want at least a C. Not many of them will get that. For some it was a lack of application in class, a failure to attend the assessments, an absence from education for so long that they simply couldn’t catch up.
But part of me blames myself, and says that I’ve failed them. I should have done more. I could have done more. I didn’t do things well enough. I didn’t have the experience. I’m not a “real” teacher (whatever that is) and have no business trying to educate young minds, especially fragile minds which have had a terrible time in the school system. They didn’t get the teacher they deserved, only the guy who was available.
But then the guy who was available was the guy who wanted to be available, who wanted to help them. The guy who turned up every lesson, week in, week out. The guy who came home dispirited, sometimes in tears, after horrible incidents in class, and who by the end of the night found something about the lesson, about them that made him smile. The guy who took all the insults, all the threats, all the derision, and ignored them when that same student asked for help understanding something. The guy who didn’t quit, unlike past teachers in that position. The guy they got may not have been the teacher they deserved, but maybe he was the teacher they needed*.
*Totally ripping off The Dark Knight and hoping nobody notices…