Alternative Facts: iQuit

I’m a bit past halfway through my first year teaching. I might be done. One of the things that possibly broke the camel’s back:

These were the scores my classes got on Finals. My final exam was 44 multiple-choice questions, with a free-response for my Honors kids. The left Post-it has averages for my regular classes, the right one has averages for my honors classes. Apparently I don’t teach math.

I’m tired. I’m at school from 7 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. After I go home, I’m usually making Google Slides and worksheets for another hour or two. I spend my weekends planning for the next week. What other profession requires consistently more work after hours?

In addition, I don’t know if I’m actually helping my students. It’s so hard to measure the impact that I am (or am not) having on them. I truly don’t know if I’m making any difference. Inquiry-based learning or drill-and-kill? Research supports both. Students hate the first and want the latter, but I don’t know if that’s going to prepare them for the future. Sometimes, I feel guilty that my students are getting the worst of me.

On a positive note, I don’t dread work. I have fun in every class I teach, even the ones with behavior issues. Teaching is usually the best part of my day. It’s the other stuff that makes me want to leave.

When I first decided to go into teaching, I was worried that I was wasting my talent in math, that I could be doing “more.” I knew this mindset was demeaning the profession, but I couldn’t shake the feeling. That feeling disappeared a long time ago, and I’m barely realizing it now. Teaching is challenging me, not so much mathematically, but in many other ways. This is hard work. Hard, but rewarding. I thought that if I left teaching, I would have wasted 2 years (this year and student-teaching last year). On the contrary, I’ve learned so much about relationships, perspectives, time management, and empathy, among other things. In no way has the past 2 years been a waste of time.

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