>Random blatherings in the trenches of teaching

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  • When more weeks are “the rough ones” and “weeks from hell” than good weeks, maybe it’s time to look at the big picture.
  • When the paperwork piles up and makes the everyday work too heavy, maybe it’s time to rethink the way of things.
  • When the headache starts on the way in to work Monday and diminishes after 5:00 on Fridays, it’s a sign that something is amiss.

Part of the stress was waiting for the local referendum, designed to help maintain the status quo. It didn’t pass. Now it’s time to cut, and there’s nothing “Extra” left to cut. My job is secure, but my workload will again increase.Astronomically, I might add. Or multiply, to be more accurate.

This year has been one of an unprecedented and unequaled workload. Class size was acceptable for my grade level at the mid-twenties, but students coming from SAGE classrooms (class size reduction) are used to sharing their teacher with fifteen students maximum. Teaching them the independent coping skills they need to survive in a regular-sized class is a challenge, and their parents rarely “get it” unless they have older children who went through the same transition already. Last year I felt like the kids started to get the hang of being fourth graders in January. This year? They’re still struggling.

My math class numbers close to 30. It would matter less if the kiddos were accustomed to standard class sizes, but they’re not (See SAGE class size, above). They’ve never had to wait long for attention from the teacher because their classes were half the size of this one. This year, kids with poor self-control are taking hours upon hours of my time, time I’d rather spend helping students who struggle academically.

That’s the story of the year. Self control, or the lack thereof, has driven my days. Kiddos who find misbehavior funny and encourage others to get in trouble. Parent who dress their children in t-shirts that announce “Funny how you think I’m listening” and other negative sentiments.

This economy is not one for switching careers or even jobs. But seriously, people, if the stress level continues, children will not get the education they need. And teachers, good ones, are just doing their best and finding it wanting.

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4 thoughts on “>Random blatherings in the trenches of teaching

  1. >I can’t imagine how hard it must be to do your job under normal circumstances, let alone these tough economic times. I just want to know what happened to the $300 billion the banks got last year… I’m thinking schools could have made much better use of that money!

  2. >I’m hearing you loud and clear. The last 3 years have been stressful ones for me and, like you, switching careers or even jobs is not an option at this point. I hope things look up for you in the spring, and summer vacation is a big bonus of our jobs, right?!

  3. >I hope you get some relief in some form soon. So sorry that the referendum wasn’t passed. No way to encourage more parents to step up an help in your neck of the woods, huh? Here’s hoping spring comes soon and brings a lighter load.

  4. >Some of my first memories of school are of times like this. I was a little lost, but didn’t see the big picture. I did see my parents’ horror, and it sunk in, deep. Maybe that’s part of why I’ve never voted against school funding.

    Kids really do absorb some of what’s going on with their teachers, and they really can use it to form values later on in life. I suppose it’d be harder for kids who are already in trouble… but what can you do besides keeping the faith in what you *can* do?

    The teachers who loved the worst of us, even when we needed to be kicked to the curb, and taught us when we were awful and times were bad — that’s where I learned the best of my stubbornness, of never giving up completely, of working and loving the work.

    I don’t know that school under those conditions did any good for my financial common sense, but that’s another story. – 😉

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