We have done everything we can but our students cannot meet us half way, cannot do their 50%; they are just broken. It is not our fault. We are doing with stories all that is humanly possible in those orc infested nests called school buildings.
It is my opinion that the daily hell states that we experience in WL are not shared by our ESL colleagues. It is because of the cultures we serve. They can communicate with their students just fine because they have families that teach them how to communicate: not in English, but in the language of human decency.
What is happening to America that we aren’t teaching our children kindness? It is not our fault. We should get medals for simply getting up in the morning and going to work. The time is critical. The kids lose when each new TPRS teacher takes a blow to the head from an orc. We have been placed in this battle.
We are at the Prancing Pony. We are in the battle in the woods which takes the life of fair Boromir, and we fight on. Ents are there to help us, and the Riders of Rohan, Judy Dubois and Robert Harrell among them, helmets gleaming, and we must continue the fight.
I know who the elves are – those silent good willed students seeing everything, going through it almost with us. I have a clone of Haldir in one of my classes. From her heart emerges almost a light. Those kids change energy. How many of us have not been buoyed by an elf during a story, wordlessly listening, sending that elven light into the classroom, helping us?
When a child has no way to access the kindness in their hearts, and we expect them to bring it to us on a platter every daythere, and we demand that they be attentive for our story that day and mark them down if they are not, and only a few kids in the room can do the behaviors we require, then what to we do? Go back to the grammar book? No, because then everybody was dead in the classroom, including us.
I know how I react to all that distance from my students. I do what I have done for 38 years and I have the worry in my face to prove it – I get up the next day and go to work and try again.
And I bring my heart with me. And I protect my heart from the Orcs – I show them good teaching, But show my heart to my kids. And we try a story again that day. Again. With hope and faith each time.
And we fail but a few stories succeed and a little more light gets in that day. And we do like that, every day, for as long as we can. In faith. Because something has to replace that tired old grammar translation model. Someone has to bring something!