I’m a gal that likes to know the destination of my journey. I suppose that’s why being in school right now is so disconcerting – if I knew that this was my last year, I’d strive to finish with a bang. If I knew that I’d stay here longer, I’d seek to set up a foundation to better help me next year. Given that I’m not sure where my future is, I’m constantly waffling back and forth between, “just do your best and focus on the here and now” and “I NEED TO KNOW WHAT I’M DOING NEXT!” Furthermore, this just makes me feel more introspective, thoughtful, critical, and basically it makes me procrastinate and do work half-heartedly or glumly. Attitude makes a big difference.
I wonder about my future with my school because in terms of them having me, I honestly think that I’m one of the best they could ever have. I’m not being cocky; let’s just lay out the facts: I try hard, I care about the kids, I don’t use profanity, I’m not a lemming, kids like me, they get good scores, I’m good with data, I’m creative, I’m relatively cheerful, and I try to help other teachers out. Obviously, you’d want someone with more experience and deep knowledge, but given the pay, the treatment, the hours, and expectations, I’m the best they can get.
So, part of why I stick with my school is because I feel that they need me, and it sucks that only the young, inexperienced, or out-of-state teachers come to this school as a temporary in-between location. I want to be the steady person, the one the other kids know will always be there, the one they can rely on, the one that other teachers come to for help. I mean, in a weird sense, it’s my second year at this school, but I’m already one of the “senior” teachers in my CMO.
But, can I continue to give in this capacity? I’m keeping a hawk’s eye to see if things are changing, and in some ways, I feel they are. But how long can I go without enough resources? With constant sweeps (random attendance book checks, weekly submissions of exit tickets, random gradebook checks, random classroom observations), changing schedules, changing regulations, etc etc. I don’t get any help with my low kids. I don’t have time to spend time on my high kids. We’re constantly adding method after method (even though they claim that there isn’t just one method)… and the circumstances don’t make me into a good person.
I know I can’t go blaming my circumstances for my heart, but in every other situation of life, when I find myself in a situation where I am prone to sin, I remove myself from that situation! Just like Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife, shouldn’t I run from areas of temptation? At my school, it is fine to lose your temper at the kids. It is fine to use a swear word or two, or to cut them down viciously with your words. It is fine to wield power. And furthermore, given all the work, stress, and dictation from up top (which comes from even higher up top), it is very difficult to remain cheerful and content. Whom does this all spill onto? My poor kids. Granted, they’re at fault for many misdemeanors, but they don’t deserve… anger – they deserve fair consequences.
Many of you say that you want to visit my school. You comment that my classroom must be fun. You know what? It probably is, compared to other classrooms in my school (maybe not the best, but definitely top ten). But compared to what our own education experiences must have been like, it doesn’t come close. I’m spread too thin, and I’m definitely too tired. Instead of help, I’m given words, “Kids first”; “It’s for the kids.” I would CRINGE if you actually saw what my teaching is like at its worst… because its worst does nothing to make up for its best.
Even though with all my faults, I’m still a good deal for the school, should I stay here if year by year, I see my heart growing calloused towards my increasingly sharp words and my increasingly rebellious attitude towards my bosses? Or should I stay and fight to keep my conscience soft? Last year, a woman I respect suggested that I leave. Working at the school cut into my personal life, my walk with God, my relationships with other people. Is there a way to have both? I need to pray.
It’s just, everything is so tiring.