You’re Not A Bad Teacher For Sometimes Wanting To Give Up.
Teaching isn’t easy. In fact, compared to other occupations, it isn’t easy at all.
We don’t get to work nine to five and leave our troubles at the door when we leave…we take our work and our worries with us. We can’t daze off for a few minutes to restart our brain…we have a class of little bodies that need our active supervision to keep them safe. We can’t do our work from the comfort of a computer screen…because even we are overwhelmed and need to step out to take a couple deep breaths, we have the lives of others’ children in our hands.
As I type this, I am exhausted from the day I’ve had. My energy is spent during class time, and renders me useless for the rest of my day. Teachers put their 110% into all that they do to lesson plan, meet with families, teach social skills, attend staff meetings, prepare students for standardized tests, keep up on professional development requirements, help students regulate emotions, attend IEP meetings, grade papers, etc. (trust me…the list goes on for miles). But although our society seems to stretch teachers paper thin, do we trust them? Do we respect them?
Our salary is often incomparable to those in other jobs with the same level of education and hours worked per week. We must complete a certain number of credit hours per year (or every two years) of professional development, even though we are constantly being evaluated and working towards personal development goals. Additionally, many new teachers must complete four years of college, two internships, two licensing exams, and then four more years in a residency program (after they have already graduated and received their teaching license).
If you’re reading this and are a teacher, none of this is new or surprising. If you have ever wanted so badly to have a “normal job” that would provide for your family and not consume your life…you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. And guess what? It’s okay to feel that way sometimes.
So, why do we continue? Why don’t we just give up?
Imagine this: A child in your class has been working on achieving a skill for days, or maybe even weeks. Finally, after countless attempts of trial and error, the metaphorical light-bulb illuminates their mind and they look at you with excitement in their voice and a twinkle in their eye! We may work hard for our students, but they are the future leaders that the world is about to embrace, and we know in our hearts that being a part of their lives is a privilege.
If they can come to school every day with the motivation to keep going, so can we.