Wednesday, December 15, 2010

At what cost?

This year, more than ever, I'm starkly aware of what this profession can cost a teacher. Those who know me, really know where I stand on public education, and urban education in particular, know that I want my students to be great, to rise above the perceptions, and to contribute to the world around them in a postive way.
Yet, I've never dreaded walking through the doors of my classroom more than I do this year. I shouldn't be jaded; I shouldn't be throwing in the towel. But the cost seems too high.
The cost of caring is onerous. I'm short with my daughter and my son. I don't have the patience needed to raise them properly after spending 6.5 hours getting cussed at, ignored, and disrespected.
This profession is not a ministry. I'm not looking to be crucified, to lay down my life for the lost. I'm already getting paid like I am a missionary, the least I could see in return is gratitude.


At 6:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon Braemar- Sad to say that when you go into such a personalized strong, close connection with younger humans, you lose much of the respect given to other professionals. You become more of a relative to these children than a professional on the job.
and yes, if you take many years of academic schooling and become one who would help raise these kids-
you are not respected as learned, knowing anything about how the brain functions, what a given group requires to be successful short or long term.

you are an adult who spends time day after day and like with our own kids, we can not expect direct gratitude or appreciation. your personal, psychological gifts are expected.

much later you will hear for a few, that they have reflected and now see how much you gave and appreciate that you tried so hard.

most who make contact later are those tough ones, not the easy kids who just sail along.

you'll hear that ___ is so pleased to hear you are still at it, because it meant so much to him/her. sometimes the word comes second hand. Is he still there? Good.

does not mean YOU need to stay. your family comes first. Your children are some you owe even more to.

I can say this because I dedicated my life - 36 of the best years anyway, in your shoes. You don't really see that until you look back and say hmmm. I did stay, did pretty well with some of the tough ones.
But should you move to where they pay more, act like htey want to learn more, and treat you with more respect? You will even retire with a better check based on previous pay.

All up to you. you're not a missionary, but it really feels like it. And no one knows unless htey are doing it too.

At 6:54 PM , Blogger Erin said...

Oh, I've had days like the one you had to inspire this post. Hang in there. I hope you get the gratitude you deserve!

At 2:27 AM , Blogger Ricochet said...

I have a difficult class - most repeating the subject - who will not stop talking even when I repeatedly told them they may be repeating it again.

I gave them ways to raise their grade and told them it was important.

There is one day left and some are trying to figure out how, in an hour, to make up 89 days worth of material. And not understanding that the ship has sailed.

I keep telling myself that the ones who listened and tried got out of it what they should have - and the others did as well.

At 9:55 AM , Anonymous Jude said...

I once had a job that ground me into the a lump. I went on disability and it took me two years before I could return to work. I learned from that to *never* stay in a position that made me that unhappy. That's why I quit my job in May. We're on tight funds at the moment, but my happiness returned almost immediately, and I have some well-founded hopes that I will soon be employed in a new position. Your health and your joy and your family are the most important thing. At the last job, I had to re-motivate myself to work at least 10 times a day. It wasn't worth it.

At 8:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Students who refuse to engage/respect are responding to one or more of several things:
1) administration that is weak
2) the wrong curriculum (for them).
3) social promotion that leaves them well aware that they are unlikely to succeed in your class, due to their not having mastered the skills and content of the previous level.
It would be great to see a charter or district-run high school that would put chronically acting-out students in a work-study program, with return to regular classes to be earned by meeting the pre-recs.

At 1:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That last comment is missing something. The child who acts out in class does the same at home, and gets away with it. THat child is probably in charge at home, telling the parent what to do and then comes to school and tries to treat the teacher the same way. I saw that for 21 years of inner city high school teaching. My last six months, away from the madness, have brought me great joy.

At 3:18 AM , Blogger Ms. Yingling said...

There's not a lot of gratitude shown by students, but I stay for the brief flashes I do see. You just have to look for them.


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