Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Why?

If you haven't noticed, my posts have reflected a growing frustration with this profession. When I created this blog, I wrote: I teach because I have to. In all the jobs I've had to pay my way through life, only teaching has (as of today) not left an empty feeling. This is my calling; and sometimes I feel that I chose to teach as much as teaching chose me.
Today, I don't know if I believe it anymore. As I filled out yet another Possible Senior Failure List, a tear or two nearly escaped. Looking at the names of students I have fought for, given my time for, and hoped for, I realized how little influence I have had. I don't know what I have left to give or even if I'd want to give it. Today, I felt empty.
It seems awkward to put this out for the public to read; but I need to. I need to work this out of my system; because if I don't, I could become like the teachers I detest--just picking up a paycheck.
Here are Ten Things I Don't Like About Teaching:
1. Shady Central Office Big Wigs.
2. The Powerlessness to Change a Student.
3. The Laziness of Students.
4. The Empty Feeling of Failure.
5. The Immediate Blaming of Teachers for Student Failure.
6. The Expectation that Teachers Must Always Give Unlimited Chances.
7. Ungrateful Students.
8. Uninformed Parents.
9. Demanding But In a Bad Way Parents.
10. When I Can't Trust a Student.

Here are Ten Things I Like About Teaching:
1. The Hours.
2. When That Kid Gets It.
3. The Mature Students Who Can Carry a Real Conversation.
4. Supportive Parents.
5. Responsbile Students.
6. Trusting Administrators.
7. The Potential for Good.
8. The Vacations.
9. Class Discussions that Don't Rely on Me.
10. Academic Freedom

8 Comments:

At 11:02 PM , Anonymous Mr. C. said...

I am so glad that I am not alone in my feelings. I really felt called to teaching but toward the end of every year, I feel called to work at the local convenience store instead of deal with the hassles you listed. Keep up the faith, take 2 months off (yeah, I know that's a total myth), and call me in the morning! :-)

Seriously, though, I hope that things brighten up and you're able to see how many lives you're able to positively affect.

jlculbert@gmail.com

 
At 4:28 AM , Anonymous Keith said...

Different calling...same feelings. One thing I've found extremely valuable is having some more mature and experienced people that I can call when I'm feeling like throwing in the towel. I know there are guys who have been down the road that I'm on now, they've quit and come back a hundred times before. Do you have a couple of teachers that you respect enough to open up to like that?

 
At 7:16 AM , Anonymous Betty said...

The kid that finally "gets" it is the thing that will help you overcome your feelings of frustration. Years later, you will remember a lot of the good things about teaching. The bad kind of fades away. Enjoy your time off and remember to laugh about something every day. It really helps.

 
At 10:40 AM , Anonymous Irrational said...

I've had bouts of feelings similar to yours a few times since I started working with young people. One thing that helps me is to give a writing assingment at the end of the year. I ask my students to evaluate my class and tell me what I should keep and what I should change next year. A lot of them really give me insight to what I've done well and what I've failed at through the year. It also helps me to see them more as people when I'm really frustrated and can't wait for them to all go away for the summer.

 
At 1:12 PM , Anonymous Peter said...

I've had those feelings, too. I was once in a district where the chair's philosophy was "student failure is teacher failure". There is hope. There are better-run schools.

 
At 1:21 PM , Blogger ms-teacher said...

We all definitely have those feelings of self-doubt. I've been struggling all year with one particular class and no matter what tricks I pull out of the hat, nothing seems to work.

 
At 10:37 PM , Blogger happychyck said...

Wow! You've made accurate lists! I'm thinking that the feelings brought out by each of those lists cancel each other out, leaving me feeling numb. Feeling numb is probably a survival mechanism, otherwise I'd be on an emotional carnival ride. Easier said than done! Today, in just one class period I chewed out a group of students for not doing even one part of a month-long project, while I was amazed at the talents of other students and feeling sad they'd be going soon. It's so much to deal with every day.

 
At 8:24 PM , Blogger Neo said...

First of all, Great Blog!

I see alot of comments from teachers on this particular post and most of the ring true. I am a senior graduating student who is moving on to university this coming September (yay!) who can't really identify with what you feel because he himself have never done any teaching. However, the insights I can give are ones from the other end. Trust me, I recognize a great teacher when I see one. When a teacher have a true passion for their students, their work and their lives, the bond is a special and unbelievably powerful. In my days of elementary, junior and now senior high, there are teachers and admins that come and go, but there are always teachers that stay in my heart forever. The reason is simple - because they showed that they care enough to put as much time and effort into grading a paper as the student who put time and effort into writing it. Thats what make a teacher great - Someone who care.

My mom is an educator, and at nights when she come home frustrated, mad, angry, sad, I always ask her one question. "Why do you care?" and slowly, I'm beginning to understand, and through my understanding I have come to realize how noble of a profession teaching actually is. I'll never be a teacher, I don't think I have the heart or the patience to put up with what some teachers put up with. But to all of you who do teach...

Thanks

p.s: those kids that will be staying back a year. Don't blame your self for it. It honestly isn't your fault. Many teachers bend backwards for their students who just refuse to take a helping hand because they think their "too good for it". Don't let student like this discourage you. For what counts, what you do still make a difference in most of our lives.

 

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