Okay first... Let me not be rude, Happy New Year, ya'll! I know it's been a minute! but I just have to tell you that...
"THIS TEACHER IS TIRED..."
but let me tell you why...
It's February and I am counting down the days to Summer Break. How will I last 4 more months? 80 more days? 560 more hours?
I'll set the stage for you:
It's a Friday morning, and I am teaching equivalent fractions to a bunch of 4th graders. 75 percent of the class is completely engaged. But the other 25 percent? Well, they're turned around in their seat, drawing pictures of lemurs on their white boards, whispering to their neighbor, doing tricks with their pencils, and what ever else a 4th grader who is not interested in fractions can think to do. I couldn't help do anything, but release a deep sigh and keep on teaching.
A non-educator might say, ignore the 25 percent and teach the 75 percent. And while that is technically what I did, that isn't how TEACHING works.
As I sat in my class trying to understand this feeling of frustration, sadness, and just plain ANGER; I realized that what I am feeling may be none other than my good friend anxiety.
But why was I so anxious. Why was I so upset about typical 4th grade behaviors?
Because as a teacher, my evaluations are based primarily on the ability of my students to perform well on a test.
Because I am responsible for the learning of ALL the students in my class.
Because regardless of how "good of a teacher I am", I am only as good as my test scores.
Because no matter how many times I say the answer is 5, if a student thinks it's 8 they're going to say 8.
Because no matter how many times I repeat something, a student has to make a choice on whether or not they want to listen in that moment.
Because there is no amount of candy, cookies, or snacks to incentivize a 4th grader who doesn't want to be at school, or who is simply living through a pandemic.
Because this is the only job, where I am evaluated on the achievement of another person. In my case 9 and 10 year olds.
Because I am expected to somehow work miracles in 7 hour days making 2 pennies an hour.
Because the expectations on a teacher are too much.
Because if I fail, 40 students fail too, and vice versa.
.....I could go on, but i digress....
Ya'll I'm TIRED
& it's not just me. Every time I log into TikTok I see at least 5-10 teachers post about how they're leaving the classroom. No Exaggeration. Some teachers are leaving without notice, with no other job on the line, with no future plans. Just leaving.
Teachers are TIRED. I am tired. & I do all the things they tell you to do to avoid Burn Out.
I only work during contract hours.
I leave right when school gets out.
I try not to respond to parents outside of school.
I leave my work computer at school.
I don't take papers home to grade.
You know ALL THE THINGS & I am still TIRED.
Would I leave in the middle of the school year? probably not
Do I think something needs to change? absolutely
Do I know what the "something" is? No
So how can someone help? I have no idea
I say all this to say; before you tell a teacher how lucky she is to have summers off, or various breaks throughout the year... just know SHE'S TIRED & SHE EARNED IT!