Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
The "reality" of the situation, as our school says, is the economy is bad. Yes, we get it. But, at a meeting last week, budget cuts were discussed including cutting/freezing teacher's salaries (of course, this was not said in so many words, instead hinted at and suggested in a 30 minute speech about our "reality").
I work in a private school that barely pays its teachers above the poverty line. Cuts would put us below. Freeze would keep us teetering on the edge. Each year we're supposed to move up in pay by some measly little sum. In the end, 20 years in private school is equitable to half of what you could be making in public school in 1/2 that time.
But, I am lucky enough to be married and we are lucky enough to make a decent living between the two of us.
I don't know if I can feel comfortable staying knowing that one of the first moves they think about for budget cuts is to think about cutting back an already dismal salary. I love my school and some of the people I work with. I love that I have a say in what I teach and the curriculum and so many things. But, I know a lot of people who aren't coming back next year simply because of money. I promised myself two years, but... I can't help but think when you already pay pennies, teacher's salaries are the absolute LAST thing you should mess with.
Maybe I'm wrong in this economy. Maybe I should just be happy to have a job. But it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
While I am sitting here reading all these rational posts about helping students, about reading in the classroom, about education in a research driven way--smart, intelligent, worthy, and important pieces of information and reflection, all I can think about in terms of education is what I wish I could say to my students. And by "say" I mean "scream" and by "wish" I mean "say in my head"
They're draining me. They're de-motivating me. They're getting the best of me. They're irritating me. They're sucking the very life at me. And honestly? I just want to tell them to shut the fuck up.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
At my school, I have begun to notice a pattern. Where it stems from, if it's symptomatic of private school, if it's a unique situation--I don't know. All I know is this: the men on our staff are expected to do less and are not held to as high of standards as the female staff.
The men have less preps.
The men don't show up at meetings--and no one says a thing.
The men are called "forgetful" or "disorganized" while women who display this behavior are treated poorly--even if their personal circumstances cause those issues--personal circumstances that no one can control such as the sudden death of a family member.
At first I thought I was being oversensitive. Then I thought it was merely coaches. Then I realized that it is all the guys. One male English teacher has ONE prep, the other TWO. The rest of the female staff have THREE. I just can't help but there's some sort of inherent gender issue there. Either the men are too "forgetful" to handle it, or they are treated that way.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Monday we went back. First hour and I snapped. The two week break did nothing to ease my frustration at their lack of effort, their lack of respect, and most of all their inability to SHUT UP once in a while. I may have forgotten about it for two weeks, but those first ten minutes brought it all rushing back so fast I could feel my head snap back.
So, as the girls discussed their schedules in voices that were just as loud as mine trying to explain directions, I lost it and said so. I said if I heard one more word about their schedule I would lose it even further. I said the break didn't rejuvenate me--it irritated me even more that they couldn't follow simple instructions. I said that we were going to focus on following simple directions since that was a skill they showed me they had yet to master.
Then we had a snow day yesterday, which honestly wasn't much of a help as I was planning on yesterday to get some things done.
Last night I had a dream that I was one of those kick ass teachers. They're tough, they're structured to a T, but they are respected and the students learn. Then, I woke up and realized I am just a moody teacher who loses her cool and can't seem to translate that into a teachable moment. And I'm not sure I'll ever cross that bridge kick ass.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Well, break is basically over as today will be spent planning the upcoming week. Luckily I can do that in my pajamas in front of the TV though.
And, let me put it plainly, I don't want to go back. I have no desire to return. I have no grand plans for second semester. I could happily stay in this house for who knows how much longer and not get the teaching itch.
Over break, I couldn't stand to think about it except in fleeting moments of "I don't wanna." I couldn't read any of the many teaching blogs I usually read about education. I didn't want to hear about it, think about it, deal with it.
If I skimmed an edu blog, people discussed that they went in to school over break or read articles or prepared. And, honestly, I couldn't understand how they could do it. I needed a clean break. I needed not to think about it or deal with it. And yet these people spent their break preparing themselves for the days to come, while I pretended like the inevitable did not exist.
I have to admit this made me question myself. I have a friend who spends at least 8 hours planning every Sunday, who routinely stays at school until dinnertime, who's lunch is full of lunch detentions, and who basically gives 95% of her life to teaching. I always thought she was an anomaly--the stereotypical spinster teacher.
But, I'm beginning to think I am. Maybe I am one of those bad teachers who doesn't care enough or put in enough work. Does it reflect in my teaching that I make time for my family, for my friends, for my TV viewing? Does it make me less dedicated to spend my two weeks ignoring what was to come and dreading the next five months of only 5 days off total?
I know I've heard it before, but I've never believed it, to be a good teacher do I have to give my whole life to the pursuit? I never thought so. But in the light of everyone else, I have to wonder... And if I am not giving enough, what's going to happen? Because I am not sure I can give any more. And if that does my students a disservice, should I really be here? And if the answer is no, then where should I be?