Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Exhausted Teachers

I thought you'd like to know that today was another positive day for me!  For those of you keeping score, the ratio of good-to-bad is now 2:900 or 1:450!  But, I have have my nadirs, as well, and even though they're in the past now, that doesn't mean it won't happen again.  American teachers are not just battling their students, they are up against parents, administrators, public opinion, and know-it-all pundits.  And we're tired, folks.  It may be anectdotal, but I have seen many great, experienced teachers pull the plug early to just end it now.
Ha, ha, ha, a-ha, a-ha, ahhh, ahhh, waaaaaah!
I remember, quite clearly, a day almost two years ago now when, on my way into my awful, horrible teaching position at a "good" local school, I just didn't know how I was going to keep doing it.  I realized that it was only my eighth year teaching, and only the second at this school, and that other teachers put in 20, 30 or even 40 years at this.  I dreaded even one more day there.  It was me against the world at that school; I was spending all my time and energy trying to plan four different lessons a night, four different goal sheets, four different quizzes, four different assessments, four different projects, grading four different subjects (this is against my contract, as was the one prep I would receive a day).  I gave my all, and despite this, everyone hated me, literally seething with rage towards me.  The students were entitled little liars that twisted everything I did, and their parents would, if I was lucky, yell at me with disdain and disgust, but generally would just call the principal.  It was the worst.  I couldn't bear one more hour of it, and begged my husband nightly to allow me to resume child care leave.  I also regretted my decision to return to work so quickly post-stroke and was secretly wishing for another stroke, consequences be damned, so I could go on disability.  Let me repeat what I just said: I wished for another stroke.  It was a dark time. 

Needless to say, I would not have been able to continue at that school, and I am extremely happy to have a new position that is not even close to as unbearable as my last assignment.  That being said, though, even without the weight of an entire community's misdirected fury, teaching is no walk in the park.  Teachers are tired.  It is too much.  This article sums up a lot of the points I've been making for years in conversation, and for the last year on this blog. We are scapegoated for every problem, when most of the blame should fall on the parents.  I cannot solve every child's problems in the six hours I see them for ten months when they are tweens.  I cannot even solve every student's problems in math in that time, although experience has shown that I can solve almost all of them in two year's time, I can wear down the hardest hard-ass in the second year, thank you very much.  But, it is unfair what we ask of teachers and it is time for it to end.  


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