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?