Sunday, January 11, 2009

Wax, wick, and will

This week was horrible.

She went back to school on Monday after almost two glorious weeks of winter vacation. Knowing she had loads of work to hand in, plus the cold, and the pains that had been increasing lately, all week she felt like she was walking in a fog.

Work is doing her in. She’s a teacher. She works with fourth graders. After 18 years at this, she expected things to get easier. The total opposite has happened.

It’s not the kids. They’re a pleasure. She still believes in this profession. Teaching fills her, it satisfies, it’s her mark on tomorrow.

But give her a break, please!

This teacher is no good to anyone when they take advantage of her, when they overload her day with so many wasteful, silly, insignificant things to do, when they don’t give her a chance to use the ladies’ room, when she can’t eat a sorry piece of sandwich on her lunch break, when they expect her to write lesson plans and correct papers and fill out reports until 11 at night and during the entire weekend.

This teacher has stopped sleeping for all of the thousands of things she thinks about in the dark.

This week she accepted that the flame is flickering, barely holding on.


The Fearless Blog said...

Cassy, I must admit I too have had my moments, the flame flickering moment.

However, I have learned to adapt, tune off from that which creates such unrest even unhappiness in me. I began teaching as an adjunct in 1988, twenty years ago, but I did not fully understand the joys or troubles until I became faculty. Meetings, projects, workshops, and senseless bureaucracy can easily dismay even the most dedicated of teachers. I must constantly remind myself to focus on the students and my interest in their well being. I place my energy and attention on them and all else...well..."all else' is just fluff.

I promised myself if teaching ever became painful and unpleasant, I would move on to something else. Honestly, after 20 years I still feel great joy every time I walk into a classroom. I am where I was always meant to be. However, we must all chase our bliss, that which brings us satisfaction and joy, makes us feel useful and alive. Without these feelings, what then do we become?

BTW It's always difficult returning after a long and pleasant vacation. I am still having trouble waking up in the morning. LOL

This Brazen Teacher said...

You know Ron Clark- the white-bred Tennessee native who taught in Harlem NY and won Oprah acclaim and whatnot?

I saw him speak in Ohio last year. He told stories about the "real" side of teaching. He talked about just throwing 75 papers to grade in the trash and going out for a beer because he was just too exhausted.

I think you you need to do that. For real. Feed the flame lady. You deserve it.


Cassy said...

Fearless and Brazen - Thanks for "being there"... it's been rough for a spell, this happens every year (a couple of times). I struggle with doing things "their" way; my kids end up paying the price and I won't have it.

I'm good. And una buena cerveza (o un vino) will certainly do the trick!

Jennifer said...

Cassy -- You have really opened my eyes up to the amount of work that teachers have to do, in addition to dealing with bureaucracy and other pains.

I have a college friend who teaches middle schoolers. She has become totally cynical about kids and schools, which is sad. I am glad that you aren't at that point. Maybe you have more happy moments on the job than she does.

Linda S. Socha said...

I can relate to this one. I have a daughter who is an ESL teacher in Tennessee. I taught remedial reading in Tennessee to long ago to name and I thought it was tought THEN.

Now as a Consultant and Psychologist I see more clearly how every year professionals must do more just to stay on tager. Of coure w3 get tired and dream of running away....And yet most of those of us committed to kids and families. continue on.

Please take a moment and stop by Psyche Connections for a visit. I think we may have some connections and philosophy in common. I would enjoying exchanging links for following blogs if you have an interest. I see you have one of my favorite people as a follower...Lorenzo....Good taste

Ali said...

Sounds like you hit the January slump hard! Hang in there, Cassy.

Nardeeisms said...

This post is near and dear to my heart. I am the mother of a fourth grader, and let me say this: In behalf of us mothers everywhere: Your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed by us. Despite your having to wade through all of the crappy bureaucracy that swirls about you, thank you for your undying efforts. You hold our childrens' futures in your loving hands, and for this, we thank you. This is what makes it all worth it. - ~Love, Nards

(P.S. I have an Excite mail account. And guess what the day's fortune says? "Take a moment to remember fourth grade" (Smile) (I kid you not)