mathinaz

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 06 2010

My Fault

I was told recently that the sign of a good teacher is someone who takes the blame for everything the students do. (It’s a bad carpenter who blames his tools, right Dad?)

Just thinking about that stresses me out, because it’s SO EASY to blame kids for everything. They’re crazy and don’t know how to behave. They can’t read or add or think. They did a bad job on that test. They don’t care.

Instead, we’re supposed to flip it around. My classroom doesn’t have enough structure and I can’t get them to behave. I haven’t taught them how to read, taught them how to add, or taught them how to think. I didn’t prepare them well enough for that test. I haven’t done well investing them in this class.

I totally get why that’s important, and I know that taking responsibility does wonders for a classroom. I’m pretty sure there’s no exception to this rule and it’s something I’ve been consciously working on this year. Still, it’s exhausting to think that everything will always be my fault.

2 Responses

  1. mathlovergrowsup

    HI! I’m sorry that we have not had a chance to hang out again…. life! Whew!

    Maybe try to think that some of it is you and some of it is them. I realized this year when I made everything my fault in teaching a Calc class with my professor that I never really forced the students to take responsibility for things. If they didn’t know about the homework I thought it was my fault for not reminding them clearly enough or making them repeat after me. The professor showed me that sometimes you need to leave it up to the students. Everything in moderation right?
    Cameron

    • Wess

      I’ve been thinking about this a lot, too. How do you take responsibility for your kids’ learning while still teaching them how to take responsibility for it themselves? How do you advocate for them while still teaching them how to be self-advocates? How do you support them fully, but develop in them the skills to succeed if next year’s teacher doesn’t?
      I want to meet my kids where they are, but I also want to make leaders out of them. I can’t figure out how to conceptualize the boundary between my responsibility and theirs.

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