- Teaching in a Pandemic: Help Teachers, Help You - February 2, 2021
- The Importance of Feedback in Distance Learning - October 9, 2020
- What a Teacher Wants: One Teacher's View - March 25, 2018
- Artist is Not a Dirty Word - March 18, 2018
- The Death of Reflection in English/Language Arts Classrooms - March 9, 2018
- More Than A Teacher - March 4, 2018
- Real Teaching Resolutions - January 5, 2017
- 23 Times I have Questioned My Sanity While Teaching - September 7, 2016
- Part 3: Adventures in Real Word English/Language Arts - Let Them Be Great - August 23, 2016
- Part 2: Adventures in Real World English/Language Arts: Making Them Care - August 4, 2016
Teaching is an emotional career. Most of us have larger than normal hearts because we love our students and treat them as our biological kids, so we care. A lot. My weeks have been filled with ups and downs and I have cried more than I have in a while. As much as I wanted to, I could not seem to get a grip on my emotions this week. We all have those days and experiences that shape who we are as a teachers. I felt I had a semesters’ worth of these experiences in the past two weeks. I will share them with you to let you know that you are not alone and that only we as teachers can understand these experiences and each other, which is why we must stick together.
Experience 1: A student offered another student money to complete homework assignments and essays. One of my students shared this information with me and I went to the administration. I thought it was quite brave of this student to report the situation. Most teenagers would not have told anyone. I reported the situation and nothing was done because of “who” the accused student was. It was pushed aside and I was told that “It was only a joke" and since nothing actually happened there was nothing to be done. I did not think this "joke" was funny. I cried because I felt angry that the student who reported it would see that events like this were common and fairness did not apply to everyone as it should. I cried because I expected more from the people I work for. I worried for the student that reported it. Would she suffer because she did what was right?
Experience 2: Report cards went out two days ago. I cried for my failing students. I wanted more for them. I pushed and pushed them and it was not enough. They did not want it enough, they shrugged their shoulders and told me, “I’ll get a “C” next nine weeks.” But that isn’t what I want, I want them to do well, not because they have to, but because the want to. I want more for them. I want them to succeed and they don’t seem to want it for themselves.
Experience 3: I am “friends” with former students on Facebook. I have seen status updates saying “Thank Goodness for Ms. Trosclair, I feel so prepared for college,” “I have to use Cornell note-taking- I know what that is! Thanks Ms. T!” “Some of my classmates do not know what a work cited page is! I should have done more in AP so I wouldn’t have to take a class with them,” and my favorite, “Stop tagging Ms. Trosclair in our posts, we can’t let her know how much she helped us in our lives!” I cried because I needed to hear that.
Experience 4: I cried because I am so overwhelmed by the pressure to prepare my students for a test I do not believe in. I worry I will not meet my student learning target and I will be rated a “C” teacher. I cried when I gave my midterm (which I try to model after the state EOC) and only 48% scored an A or B, now 95% PASSED the test, but only 48% scored an A or B and the state tests and school SPS only cares about As and Bs. I have nine weeks to get more of my students to score As or Bs on a standardized test (the EOC) or I will be rated a low teacher. But 95% PASSED! How is that fair?
Experience 5: I wrote a recommendation letter for one of students to attend a college medical day trip apparently there is limited space and only a fifty or so kids from the state can attend. I write recommendation letters all the time and didn’t think much of it until the student got in to the program. She ran down the hall and hugged me tightly and said “Thank you so much! You are the best!” and ran off. Yep, I cried for that too.
Experience 6: I worry so much for our new teachers. I remember how hard it was when I started and I did not have the pressure that there is today. I want to help them so much, but I feel like I can barely keep above water myself. How can I help new teachers too? I am frustrated because I am supposed to be a “seasoned” teacher and I am supposed to set an example. I find myself stretched too thin and I have so much more I want to do and I simply can’t.
These type of experiences make us stronger teachers. I know most of us keep them to ourselves because we do not want to be seen as weak. All I know is that teaching can be such a lonely job and sometimes we feel that no one in the world could understand what we are going through, but we are wrong. We have each other and we must support each other, and share experiences because we are all in this together and we will become better for our communities, our students, and most importantly, ourselves.