I think I’m having a crisis of faith. Not in the Big Guy, the Original G, but in the profession I love. I don’t want to be a teacher anymore, and it’s breaking my heart.
Prior to this writing, I’ve had frustrating days, weeks, and even a year or two. They seemed to be never-ending, but in reality, they came and went with large chunks of time in between each rough patch. There were specific times of the year as well: beginning and end of the school year, around report card time, multiple IEPs due at once, alternative assessments, etc. Every teacher goes through these feelings. If you haven’t, call me and tell me were you teach.
Never have I been so unhappy in my job as this school year. Nor has this unhappiness been so pervasive as it is this year. It seems everyone is feeling the way I feel.
I am always tired, frustrated, sad, angry. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells, that everything I do is overly scrutinized, and I can do nothing right. I’m nauseated on many days, my anxiety is getting worse, I know my blood pressure has gone up (people keep pointing out my red face-I know, very scientific), and I feel as if there is a giant weight on me all the time.
When I’ve felt crappy about teaching in the past, I was able to find something to keep me motivated. The students, my co-workers, 8 weeks off in the summer. Those are all good reasons to keep going. Even those things aren’t working anymore. I just feel like I’m working for nothing. And it’s a lot of work.
It’s not a shocking statement to say that teachers are under-appreciated by so many non-educators. We get it. No one likes us. What is disturbing is when it comes from within. When you’re feeling beat down by your own kind. Shouldn’t we be advocating for each other? Shouldn’t we be trying to lift each other up when so much about our job gets us down?
I just don’t think I have the patience, emotional fortitude, grit, or whatever new buzzword you’d like to throw in there. Education is all about the buzzword. And that’s the problem. Education is not about education.
Education is about paperwork, planning, and staying in your lane, but yet diversifying just enough. It’s about being precise and specific in some areas and not so in other areas or you’re teaching to the test. It’s about doing what is federally mandated so we can get much needed funds that still aren’t enough, and still don’t solve the underlying problems. Education has become not about teaching at all. Teachers feel like they’re letting their kids down, and sadly, unless we’re OK with getting called on the carpet, there isn’t much we can do otherwise. If you ask a teacher what he/she wants, it’s this: Just let us do our jobs.
Teaching is separate rules for different specialties. Why do general educators follow one set of rules, and special educators required to follow another? What makes those two professionals so different anymore? We’re all in the classroom together now. And why are there different rules and expectations for elementary teachers and middle/high school teachers?
Teaching is about making it look good. It’s about showing how all our hard work is paying off, when sometimes, it just isn’t. Kids fail. Do teachers like that? Hell no. But many times, despite our best efforts, kids fail. People need to learn to be OK with that, both educators and non-educators.
I do still want to teach. I really do. I just need to get out of the classroom. Or maybe just out of the school system. I’m tired of being a babysitter. Honestly, that’s what I feel like anymore.
I’d ideally like to teach at the college level, as well as other educators. I love the direction education is going in with the technology available to teachers and students. A job with SymbalooEDU, Edublogs, Edutopia, or one of the many terrific online education-driven websites would be wonderful. To have a job in a field I enjoy (writing and computers-yes, I’m that nerdy) that would allow me to help teachers…well, that would be great. I want to lift teachers up, help them take a load off, and let them know that someone does care about their profession.
Maybe I’ll start my own business. I’ll scour the Internet. I’ll read all the articles, the journals, the papers, Tweets, and education websites. I’ll compile and report on what I find and share it out to teachers in the hopes of saving them time so that they can just teach. Now if someone could take my caseload so I can do this, that would be great. And if you like this idea, DON’T TAKE IT IT’S MINE!
Disclaimer: These thoughts and opinions are solely mine, and do not reflect those of any specific persons or school systems.