Teaching in a school labeled as “failing” is an act of contradiction. Once the school gets that title, it is as if you are walking uphill in a blizzard both ways (like my dad used to say). Somehow, even though you have been designated by city, state, and federal government as totally sucking, you are supposed to maintain hope. You are supposed to go to work everyday believing that you can foster change, make the situation better, teach yourself to salvation.
It is beyond hard to live with a label of failure and yet believe there is hope.
I found this quote years ago and it has always reminded me of teaching:
The test of first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.
–F. Scott Fitzgerald
Yep. That’s teaching.
(Photo of my lesson plan book from spring 2005 which I saved all these years in order to hold onto this quote.)