- Remote Elementary Teaching Sucks. Get Over It and Prepare for Survival - October 27, 2020
- Betsy Devos Need to Spend More Time In Real Schools with Real Teachers - September 8, 2020
- Teaching from Home Part 2: Using Google Classroom to Stay Semi Connected - April 9, 2020
- Teaching from Home: Tips for Focusing on Results- One Teacher’s Reflection - March 29, 2020
- A Pandemic Brings Opportunity to Rethink Standardized Testing - March 23, 2020
- Getting Students to Write (Part 1) - August 7, 2019
- Why I Worry About My Students - July 9, 2019
- Activists Are Needed in Education - May 13, 2019
- Your Students and Video Games: Adult Supervision Required - April 29, 2019
- An Open Letter to Bill and Melinda Gates: What Students Really Need - April 1, 2019
I am tired.
I find myself yawning at work by 2PM almost daily. If I am able to stay asleep until 4AM these days-it is a surprise. One I am thankful for, to be sure. It seems that I just can’t quiet my mind and if I wake up just a little as I roll over anywhere around 3AM-I start thinking. There is so much to do, so many meetings, so many issues, so many little conversations…so much to do: how to reach this unreachable student or recognize that one who was reached; or challenge this other one who’s ready to be challenged. What can I do as the president of our local union in our tiny school to make it better for my colleagues? What can I do to represent my people and keep them interested, invigorated and involved? I manage to find individuals, I manage to find communities of educators, but make no mistake: the search to find them takes effort.
Because they’re tired too.
Some either beat down by years, demoralized by the reduction of their calling to a numbers game, the changing nature of students, parents, administration. Many, if not most, are just as busy as I am with all that they do in school, after school, and outside of school. Finding motivated, energetic defenders of teachers on the ground requires effort. Searching for effective promotion and defense of the profession from our own unions has even proven difficult. Disappointing might be a better word.
So how do I address the aggravation that might well up, if I allow, with reformers who have no respect and only see political or economic opportunity in public education (or their next new job as they fail at their last-making the lives of other people miserable)? All this crazy stuff is just the teaching part of my life. I am also a dad and husband-and that stuff starts rolling around in my head. It gets me up and thinking and sleep escapes me again. And again.
There seems to be some hope, though, and I feel a little spiritually charged. Not because I’m super religious, or anything-but because I believe in the need for and power of positive people, positive thinking, and the power of putting out positive vibes. Not to sound too hippy, but can’t you teachers out there feel it? Education reformers are on their heels, and newspapers and blogs funded by public school destroyers are awash in pouty, critical attacks on parents who have been denied a say for too long-but are finally getting it. Sanders might be a long shot, but he is an old man who has brought a truth and energy to a process that has for too long been protected by the most harmful status quo. A lot of very cool things are starting to happen.
Spring is here. My daughters are incredible, my wife is the greatest gift in my life (today is her birthday!), and in two hours the starting bell rings the students in. I was up around 3:30 this morning, and I know I’ll be yawning by 2. Testing season is upon us, and planning administration, locations, accommodations will drive this week as we prepare for next. It’s a craziness I have kept my kids removed from. I love them too much, I know them too well, and I respect their (my) school and their teachers too much.
Yeah, I am tired-all the time. But I have hope. Spring has sprung, and I’m the energizer bunny, baby!