The district I work for has a difficult task in front of it. Student achievement lacks the growth necessary, and teacher turnover rates soar. I can't decide between my desire to influence both the system and the students and my desire to both reduce my stress level and enjoy my toddler daughter.
Last night, I picked up Influencer: The Power to Change Anything. The first few chapters stirred my desire to influence. As I read, my mind wandered to various ways that our district could improve the reading ability of the incoming generation of students. We should influence the parents before their children ever enter our building.
My wife, who teaches fourth grade in the same district, assigned a journal prompt which asked, "1. Who read to you as a child? 2. Who reads to you now? 3. Who would you like to read to you now?" The answers showed why, when these students reach high school, they cannot read at grade level. Only a few students listed someone who read to them as a child.
That is one of our problems.
So, I walked into school today full of desire to influence. But alas, by the ten minute mark in first period, I was ready to influence somewhere else. I've been dragging reluctant students along for over 150 days; I just don't have the energy anymore.
It is a depressing place to be, vocationally speaking, when I feel like those teachers I loathed for "mailing it in."
Is it wrong that I don't want to hear, "This school fucking sucks," or watch a student refuse to turn his shirt that reads, "No Bitch Ass Ness" inside out? Am I a failure, as some education critics believe, because my students refused to complete a sentence starter that read, "Money allows me to...." simply because it was first period and I "shouldn't make us work during first period"?
I'm tired, I guess. This has never happened to me before. What kind of influencer can I be this way?