People need to know what teachers are dealing with these days! Who would have thought that an elementary school teacher would be so overwhelmed, so stressed out, and so overworked, that she would have to stay up on several week nights past 11 pm!
After 18 years in this profession, I thought things would become a little easier; with experience, things become second nature, you know? However, administration seems to look for more ways to bring us down, so we're practically crawling and scraping our way across the shiny floors.
Too much to describe here, and I don't wish to sound so terribly negative. But a very sad thing is happening in schools today, at least where I'm at. They are wearing us down. We are becoming tired of fighting the good fight. Morale is low. People smile weakly at each other in the hallways, speedwalking the kids to the next class, rushing to grade-level meetings where we will be told of yet another assessment that will determine what we need to focus on.
Focus. We're not able to focus any longer. There are too many foci at a time, I fear we will only be mediocre in the end.
They tell us the big focus this year is science, to incorporate it in every way possible, especially throughout the literacy block. In fact, we've been told to put aside a lot of the literature, and to use the science text and science leveled readers to teach reading. (Wow.)
At the same time, we are to focus on writing, and vocabulary. Infuse it in all areas.
And test. Benchmark tests. Quarterly tests. On-line tests. State assessments. Friday tests. Just last week I gave my 4th graders a district math test, 53 pages long, that took two days!
I'm not going anywhere. But I feel for the newer teachers who are just coming in to this field, and feeling like they will walk right back out. And I hate seeing so many colleagues becoming resentful and tired.
I feel some of that bitterness growing inside me, so I try my best to talk myself out of it on the drive to work. My kids need to see a cheerful and energetic person in the front of the room. They will get just that. I love my job, I love my kids, I love the art and science of teaching.
But I hate what has happened to school.