The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

In the past 6 months, I don't know that I have felt more like crying than I do right now

Perhaps I am having a teaching mid-life crisis.... or not. Especially because suggesting that this is a mid-life crisis for a teaching career would mean that I am halfway through teaching, and I most certainly am not. I would like to think that I am barely at the dawn of my teaching career, but I don't know how else to describe how I am feeling right now.

At the end of the year last year, I felt so incredibly hopeful and like I had accomplished so incredibly much, like the students had grown so much and learned so much, but this year, I feel like the students have just gotten lazier and lazier. How did this happen?  How have I failed so incredibly at preparing them for college, at least as work habits go? I don't want to go into the details of the latest failure, but honestly... I just feel like crying. How could they be SO irresponsible and seem to care so very little when I care so very much?

I just want so badly to believe that if I care enough, they will care that much back, and it is not working that way, and I am finding it very, very difficult to deal with.

I also got observed for my performance review today, and it was totally not a good day for it. At my school, I get a bonus for doing well on my performance reviews, and I am really, really counting on having that money to save for maternity leave. I feel like I am normally a consistently good teacher- like any day that any one wanders in to my classroom they are bound to see something good- but this unit has just crashed and burned around me for so many reasons that were out of my control. Plus, then on top of everything, I had two very critical talks with two different administrators within 30 minutes after school. One was constructive criticism that I totally deserved and probably needed to hear, but the other one was just, sort of unfair nitpicking and the person's tone didn't really help either. I tried so hard to go in there with so much positivity and such a good attitude, despite everything that happened today, but I really felt like crying when I walked out.

And now, I need to pack to head to Houston for an educator's meeting that I am actually really looking forward to, but my head is not in the right place right now. I love meeting with other brilliant English teachers, and this one will really be the best of the best, and I am hoping that I can pull my head into the right frame of mind to want to do this and be positive. I have to... I really have to. At least I will be able to sleep in tomorrow because my flight isn't until noon.

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