Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The state of the err.....

I rarely post about education and teaching. Today, I will. Some days I feel like I am cut out to be a teacher: organized, dedicated, caring-hidden-behind-a-bitchy-exterior. Other days I feel like it's the worst job for me: I hate 5 am, I care too much, I want to occasionally feel good at my job. Which is what makes it exceptionally difficult, because no matter how hard I work, how much I invest, how many workshops I take, there's still more to learn and know and do. Teaching is an endless climb. Next week I have a conference with a parent who feels her child isn't being challenged enough. I also have students who can't read. I must cover writing and use technology and show my students how to collaborate. Oh wait, and grammar and social skills and community service. And I am encouraged, no expected, to reach them all. Every day.

The state of things nationally is not encouraging either and I hardly have time to follow the politics of education. No, I haven't seen Oprah's episode on education. No, I haven't seen Waiting on Superman. You guessed it: no time. I understand that I am in charge of someone's child every day. I understand that the single most important determining factor in a child's educational success is his teacher. I understand that students are not prepared for life outside of high school, whether that's college or a job. I guarantee that no teacher intentionally let's her students down. We're not wired that way. At least, I'm not. I want nothing more than for my students to succeed. What more than likely happens, as is does for me, is teachers feel overwhelmed by all that they are expected to miraculously do and they shut down. At some point, I have to call it a day. There is this moment of daily surrender where I realize I won't get everything done, I feel like a failure, and I throw in the towel for the day.

Clearly, I am dedicated to the profession: I have spent 8 years teaching middle schoolers, I have my masters, I completed my national boards last year (awaiting news on that). But the state of things is about enough to make me question my job. And while I am thankful for a job, the silver lining for the unemployed might be teaching. I think, at the rate things are going, there are going to be positions left available when the current, great teachers throw in the towel for good.

1 comment:

heanguy said...

You are awesome. We need more like you. Chin up.