>And on the third hand…

>Today was Mixed Feelings Day. Not familiar with that one? That’s because it doesn’t exist. I could call it Of Two Minds Day, but that wouldn’t cover it, either. There’s too much going on. My mind keeps spinning, and I keep bringing it back before it spins out of orbit.
On the one hand: I love my work teaching elementary school. I dread my job. I get stomach aches every Sunday night thinking of what may be waiting the next morning. It’s not the kids; I teach some wonderful kids. It’s not the co-workers; I work with a fantastic, creative, supportive team of teachers. It’s a few noisy, nasty, know-nothings that make my job a living h-e-double hockey sticks. It has reached a point where I am reluctant to check my school email on weekends because it upsets me too much. Someone, but someone, needs to step in and tell these non-teachers it will do their children a lot more good to trust our knowledge and work with us rather than raise their swords and start a battle. This, I keep thinking, is what drives teachers out of their field.
On the other hand: I spent today moonlighting in my other role as musician, judging a music festival in a small town near here. It was a wonderful, enjoyable day. The parent volunteers assisting in my room were supportive, polite, and positive. They went out of their way to treat all who entered, whether student or adult, with courtesy and respect. When I needed something (like a desk or table on which to write my critiques), I had only to ask, and it was provided. Eager middle school student volunteers brought around refreshment carts with water, coffee, and various snacks several times a day. The middle and high school performers played well, conversed with me, and in general, kept me smiling all day. This, I thought, is teaching at its best. It’s the way teaching should and could be.
But shoulds, as you know, are bogus.
On yet another hand, I read this post today. I work closely with the special education teachers. I speak Spanish, while not fluently, fairly well. Students with special needs, behavior plans, and limited English skills are welcome in my class. These students need me.
But on the other hand, how much longer can I put up with an administration that will not draw the line in the sand? How good is it for students, special or traditional, disabled or neurotypical, to have a teacher who is stressed-out to the point of illness?
The answer is simple. No one can do their best work while feeling threatened. I need to feel safe, healthy, positive, and eager to go to work on Monday mornings. On one hand and all the other(s), extreme stress isn’t good for anyone. Not my family, not my students, but most of all, not me.
On all hands, something needs to change.

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