This must be the word of the week as it has come up so frequently.
I think of my earnest third graders enduring the grueling high stakes mathematics testing that we concluded this week. Their reactions ran the gamut from just filling in any random test bubble to get the thing over with to painstakingly writing and justifying each and every answer with back up calculations.
One of my behaviorally challenged students endures those days when the medication he relies upon is unavailable. This student endures a health care system that doesn’t allow for alternative medication or treatment. Take a pill. You can endure the day.
Another student endures the daily stress and uncertainty of a gravely ill parent. The student endures the day’s lesson until, arriving home, the child breaks down into inconsolable tears. This child no longer wants to be in school; it is too frightening to think that her parent may not be there when she arrives home.
We endure those things mandated by folks who do not know who we are or what we are capable of achieving if we are just given a chance to linger until we can know. We endure an educational system that does not allow for students who learn differently unless the numbers add up. We endure a social structure that blames us when our families come from other places, or speak other languages.
Sad to say, I feel I am enduring this year too. The challenge of teaching in a highly volatile impoverished environment is wearing and this year more than ever. My own self-worth can not driven by what others think of me,that I understand. But the constant harping on “poor results” by those with ulterior motive – be it winning elective office or selling a consultation service – on the backs of hard-working educators worms its way into my very being and causes me to doubt.
With 19 days left to this academic year, we are all enduring.