Saturday, June 02, 2007

Getting Closer

I stopped by my school this morning, Starbuck's coffee in hand. Random papers cluttered my desk, and the time had come to begin cleaning. My seniors have eight school days remaining before they begin their pre-graduation events. As I de-cluttered my desk in preparation for the end of the year, and eventually my move to Connecticut, I felt those pangs of sadness that accompany the end of a school year. Only this time, I won't be going back to my classroom for summer school or the next school year.
When it is finally over, I will certainly reflect on my experiences at this school, but today, I have to express the sadness that I felt today.
It has been the toughest year of my young career, even surpassing my first year when my words of concern nearly cost me my job (the post lives only in my files).
The trial began when I had to abandon as the host of my classroom blog. In fact, I had to persuade the Central Office to even allow me use a blog as part of my curriculum. The process took over a month to finalize.
My spirits were raised mid October when I had the chance to prove that all teachers are not mean old people. That night will remain one of the finest memories from teaching--and it had nothing to do with tests.
It didn't take long to get reminded that students are irresponsible.
December reminded me that students can amaze us with their maturity. When I need a reminder about the quality of students, I go back and read that post.
In January, I reflected on my Late Work Policy that I had changed. The numbers depressed me. Later in the month, I wanted to change careers.
My mood didn't change much in February as I did some soul searching.
March brought about negative attitudes towards the Central Office. I will continue to leave the actual problem veiled in secrecy. I'll just say that I lost confidence in many people who hold high ranking positions. Late in the month, I struggled to convince my students that correct writing is essential--again, this continued my depressive state.
Towards the end of April I began to realize that I may have failed to actually teach anything to my seniors.
Early in May, I began to realize that I may have failed to help a handful of my students who had slipped academically while experiencing "drama" in their life. I contemplated letting go. But I didn't give up then. I stayed depressed when my senior failure list grew instead of shrank, and I thought I hit rock bottom when my attempt at getting my "dream" job failed.
So yesterday, on the first day of June and two days before my 30th birthday, I thought my year was looking up. But then I failed again. More and more students are reading this blog, so I can't go into detail, but I will say that I am officially done trying to save students. My empathy and concern tank has finally emptied. Here's hoping that in the final eight days, my emotions can be salvaged.


At 10:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only recently started reading your blog. Your concern for your students is obvious. Sometimes things take a while to work. I still remember teachers' comments from way back when. Good luck with your move. Keep on blogging.

At 1:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. McNamar, you really need some time off ... it's good you are relocating and can make a fresh start. It sounds like too many events conspired against you this year, to have oppressed you so terribly. My heart aches for you, because you sound like a great teacher who is (was) passionate about your calling. Be proud of the students for whom you DID make a difference this year, even if they don't acknowledge it. You know you did the best you could do under the circumstances. I wish you the best of luck in CT & I will pray for you to find the perfect job. (Elementary is always looking for male teachers! We need good role models.)

At 4:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get out of the classroom for a while and then do some soul searching. You have to remove yourself from the situation.

It seems like all the other stuff besides the students makes teachers quit. You seem genuinely interested in students, so I hope you stay.

At 9:30 PM , Blogger Dan Edwards said...

Conn. ! Burr. ITs cold there in the winter. I have a brother living there, in Stamford. Close to the culture and vices of NYC.

Breathe deep, the air of change. Enjoy the multi-colors of the leaves, the chill in the air and the twang of those nasally New England voices. Enjoy the panaramo of America on your drive toward the rising sun. Drive safely.


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