Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Good Life

***This post isn't meant as a rant or a complaint. I just want to be heard. I don't always have the right words when I talk, so I wanted to write it down and share.***

I love summer. It's not the vacations, hot temps, or the movie blockbusters that entice me. Summer is the time for me to let the stress of the year fade away. I can gain some perspective on my profession and fall in love with it again.

Truthfully, every year around April, I don't love my job. I am tired. I am stressed. Mentally, emotionally, and physically I am spent. It is a difficult time because that is when I have to be the strongest for my students. Teachers, you know this. Our school system is so driven by numbers that we have to fight to find the love. I hate that.

The school year starts in June for me. I spend my summer on my computer searching for and creating lessons that will engage my students. So much time is spent thinking how I am going to structure the day, create an inviting space, and encourage my students to push themselves to be successful. I am thinking about those things when I go to the store. Any store. I buy things for my room way too much. 

Teaching is my obsession.
I love and hate it.

It pulls me away from my friends and family because I pour so much of myself into my students that I don't have a lot left over. I know my husband feels the pinch from time to time.

The love far outweighs the hate.
I am dedicated to what I do. It makes me happy. 

I work hard to teach my students much more than just curriculum. I teach and model responsibility, the value of hard work, honesty, compassion, forgiveness, and love. 

If I could make everyone believe one thing about my job it would be this:
Curriculum content is only half of what goes on in my classroom.

My kids are learning how to treat other people with respect, work in groups, which is a life skill they will need in the workplace, and just about everything that has to do with being a productive citizen. Most of this doesn't occur in overt manners.

I know that I don't speak for all teachers. Not all teachers are this invested. I understand that.

But I am.

I don't crave temper tantrums or open defiance, but I know how to look past it to try to learn what is really going on. It is not easy, but I don't expect it to be. Kids are complex human beings and anyone who disagrees with that can come sub for me for a week. Then you will know.

Lately, I have been struggling professionally. I am a professional, but I don't always feel like I am treated like one.

The upper administration has a way of withholding information that makes me feel juvenile. I want to be trusted. If you don't trust me, please come talk to me or sit in my classroom for a week. 

It is difficult to do my best without having all the necessary information. And withholding that information until a week before school starts or less, does not enable me to be my best.

Bottom line: I expect my kids to do their best, so I give them my best. 
I am a teacher. It is what I do.

Please trust me to plan lessons that encourage higher levels of thinking and foster independence. Those are goals of mine. I know I am not always successful. I am human. I make mistakes, but I am always looking for ways to improve. 

Mandating lesson plans is not a good practice in my book. Each lesson in each classroom is going to be a little different, therefore each teacher needs to be in charge of planning for their instruction. We don't need cookie cutter lessons.

We do need to plan with our fellow teachers. 
We do need an intensive curriculum and varied resources.
We do need autonomy.

I am not saying that I won't follow the rules. I am a staunch rule follower, even when I don't like those rules, but I do want to give voice to my opinion.

I need autonomy.
Please treat me like the professional I am.


Katie Lawson said...

Hallelujah and amen!

Suzy Q said...

So sorry to hear about your woes from above. Keep doing what you know is right and do your best not to let the things outside the classroom get to you. (Easier said than done, I know.) Your students are extremely lucky to have such a dedicated professional looking out for their best interests.

Lisa Bee said...

Here here!!
Grade 4 Buzz

Sherry said...

Well said!

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with the lesson plans. My third grade team struggled through last year with collaborative planning and ended with the lowest scores we have ever had. I understand the thought process behind the concept, but the reality doesn't work. We all have our own methods that work with our personalities, let me create a plan that reflects that.

Mrs. Cockrell said...

I am SO with you. On all counts. :) Happy back to school! I'm enjoying reading your posts; found you through Pinterest, and I love to find other 2nd grade teachers!

Teach On.

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