There have been two specific times where I have had a hard time falling asleep. One was while I was teaching six grade English. The other, right now; teaching high school special education.
The first, I was ecstatic about the work I was doing. I could see the progress the students were making and I was enjoying putting the time into making changes in their educations; their lives. As mentioned in a previous post this experience changed the way that I viewed my role as an educator and relation to the world. In turn, because I was putting so much effort into my students’ educations the more than three-year relationship that I was involved in was turned into a loss. Honestly, it was over previous, but the commitment I had to my job made sure that it was over. As I have written about my shortcomings of not being able to trust as well as how I tend to have a hard outer shell this educational experience allowed me to lighten up.
More recently, I am still willing to take what I have learned from the sixth-grade students and carry it into my work as a high school special education teacher. What keeps me up is not the excitement over planning enthusiastically for the successes of my sixth-grade students, But the ever-pursuing, and not finding solutions that will truly be beneficial to my current students.
I often feel as though I am not equipped to help my students to access the world around them. Regrettably, they are currently reading below the third-grade level as high school students. I have posted a few times in the past about failures in the educational system. These students who have disabilities are not free from blame in their current position. However, it makes me sad that their thinking errors can be traced to generations of learned helplessness living in a societal structure that is set against them. This keeps me up at night. The continual quest for helping the students keeps me up at night. The never-ending process in which raising their reading levels, which I don’t feel qualified to raise enough so they will benefit from their own abilities keeps me up at night.
I look back on the time while I was teaching sixth-grade English. Professionally, I have never been happier. spending hours at night planning four the next day, week, and months enthralled me. Anticipating how the students would enjoy the learning I was about to provide supplied me with energy. That experience allowed me to feel love for the students with which I currently have been selected to work. I appreciate the opportunity to work with each and every one of these students. Although, I cannot sleep I understand that my lack of sleep comes from my passion for helping these high needs students. If, somehow, I miraculously I am capable of raising the reading levels of the students I understand that will not change the myriad of reasons why I cannot fall asleep.
I hope to make a positive impact on the students. I wish to improve their lives, even if it does not align with the motivation of the school; raising their reading levels so they test better. I understand my limitations and urge myself to learn from my mistakes, colleagues, students and professional development opportunities. I am honored to work with the students with which I am working. If it were for another reason that I could not sleep I would be disappointed in myself.