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Hello. My name is Allyson, and I’m a Double-Minded Teacher.

Double Minded: 1: wavering in mind: UNDECIDED, VACILLATING

Since I’ve made the commitment to become a teacher, I’ve been double-minded about teaching. I start off excited about the upcoming year. I create the layout for my classroom and pick the theme. Then, I’m cutting, taping, hot gluing, and posting my life away for days. I’m committed. Dedicated. Leaving the thoughts of the old year behind me and looking ahead to my new group of students.

Then, I sit in professional development and listen to all the great things my administration has lined up for the year. I can’t help but smile as I think about how to incorporate these new resources into my teaching. Deep down, I know my students are going to love it. I start thinking of fun activities I can do to teach the content: songs, chants, and so much more is on my agenda.

Next, I start hearing about all the paperwork I have to turn in. I’m sent to a training for the assessments that have to take place the first two weeks of school. They tell me about how soon the curriculum was starting, which is way before I have a chance to establish behavior management expectations and build relationships. Two weeks in, the honeymoon phase is over and students are beginning to get comfortable…and not in a good way.

 That’s when the other side of my brain starts to kick in: Why did I decide to continue teaching again?

Every day, I deal with double-mindedness. I deal with the sudden change in emotions. One minute, I’m enjoying watching my students persevere through the complexities of a new math concept, the next minute, I’m writing out my plan for exiting the teaching profession.

I try to remember what brought me to the profession in the first place. Working with youth has always been a passion of mine. I enjoy seeing them grow into scholars and become better versions of themselves. But sometimes, in my double-mindedness, I lose sight of what brought me to teaching in the first place.

I hate it and love it all in the span of 10 minutes. I’m ready to retire at 50 and then ready to quit tomorrow. I think about programs I can start within my school and then jobs that require me to push a few buttons and speak to as little as three people a day.

Am I alone in this up and down rollercoaster of emotions towards teaching?

Internally, I keep giving teaching one more chance. I tell myself that if it doesn’t work out this year, I’m done. But then, I sign another contract. I decorate another room. I’m up til 10 and 11 p.m working on lessons and PowerPoint presentations that I’m hoping my students don’t talk through or ignore.

Then the #teacherguilt sets in. All I can think about is being another teacher that abandoned their students, our future leaders of tomorrow. The encouraging words from everyone about how great of a teacher I am starting to play over and over and over and over again. I see the smiles on the faces of students from my first year of teaching. I feel the embrace of students who appreciate what I do. So I decided to try and work it out another day.

…And after that day, I’m ready to quit again.

It honestly feels like a never-ending battle within myself against myself. I sit in amazement when I see teachers retiring after 20+, 30+, or even 50+ years. But even in those moments, I’m double-minded.

“I’d love to have a student come back to my classroom and tell me I made a difference after 20 years” is the thought that leads. But it’s quickly followed by “There’s NO WAY I’m teaching longer than 5 years! I don’t know how they did it!”

What is it about teaching that can have you so committed, yet so ready to leave at the same time?

Female High School Teacher Standing By Student Table Teaching Lesson

With a deep commitment and passion for all things youth, Allyson began her teaching journey in 2014....

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1 Comment

  1. If anybody feels you, I feel you. I love teaching. I love supporting teaching and learning. As an 18 year veteran of education, I think we let people off the hook when we get excited about food at a faculty meeting, or breakfast on a planning day, or weekly shoutouts, or even the bomb holiday party. Those things are great for the moment and buys us some time from the double-mindedness but it does not resolve it in the least bit.

    So how do we get rid of the double-mindedness?! Or better yet, how do we get rid of the negative side of teaching.

    The problem is that we are trying to educate children the same way we did over 50 years ago. Everything is good until we hear the paperwork that has to be submitted. That paperwork tiger is a beast. The paperwork beast gnaws at us and contributes to the dread. Why not use technology to reduce the paperwork in a meaningful way?!

    The next problem is time. Why can’t we have time to do all of these trainings but not when kids are in the building. Why can’t we have training camps, mini camps, preseasons, or residencies?! Other industries do that though they are less vital to the nation’s economy and future than education. During this time we can learn and try new things without it hurting children, overwhelming us, and taking away precious time that we have before the standardized tests come.

    How can we get more of our time back? How can we reduce the time spent on some paperwork so we can spend more on improving teaching and learning?

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