|11 of 31 at Two Writing Teachers!|
Do you know what I did this afternoon when one of my administrators asked how I was doing? I burst into tears. Why?
I'm tired. Tired of 11-hour days at school... followed by quick dinners and more schoolwork until I collapse, exhausted, in bed. Tired of yearning to improve my teaching craft and collaborate with other educators, but not having opportunities built into my workday to do so. Tired of struggling to meet the demands of decisions made far from my classroom, by people who have never sat beside my students or walked beside me.
I'm discouraged. Discouraged by policies and rhetoric implying that, despite giving every ounce of my time, energy, and love, I'm not doing enough. Discouraged by the demeaning idea that perhaps if someone dangled a carrot over my head, I'd do a better job. Discouraged by the constraints of an antiquated educational system poorly equipped for our modern world. Discouraged because I know my ELL students' unique needs, but I feel like my voice is lost below the clatter of money and the red faces of ideology.
I'm heartbroken. Heartbroken by the stories my students share about the challenges they endure. Heartbroken when struggling students fall through the cracks despite my best efforts, simply because their gaps are too big and our resources are too few. Heartbroken at constantly having to choose which class will get less than my best, because I just ran out of time to give them the activities or feedback they really need. Heartbroken to see my newly enthusiastic readers and writers fret and lose their confidence in the face of dull, arduous tests. Heartbroken as lifeless, isolated numbers replace these vibrant, determined human beings who really have grown so much throughout the year.
So I cry. Sometimes in my classroom, sometimes at home, and yes, sometimes in the principal's office. But crying won't help my students.
So I take a deep breath and open up my laptop, because I love my students.
But we sure could use a little help.