You ever have an urge to do something, but have no idea what it is you want to do? Well, that describes my blogging life as of late. I started this blog at the end of last school year as an attempt to connect with my students on a writing level. Honestly, if I teach reading and writing, shouldn’t I be reading and writing? I was actually beginning to feel like a bit of a hypocrite. How can I possibly encourage my students to be authentic writers, if I’m not doing so myself.
Here I am, wanting to write, but not really knowing what to write about. Usually I get my ideas from observing people or with conversations I have with others. Lately, I feel disconnected. I know the majority of what is going on is school. I’ve been busy, as I said in my previous post. But accompanying the business is an incredibly tired brain. I’ve heard that an average teacher makes about 1500 educational decisions in a given day. I might even be a little low with that number, but regardless, that makes for a very tired brain.
I really wish that people could step into the shoes of a teacher for one day, just to see what we deal with. I’m so absolutely sick of looking at the comment section of my local newspaper’s website and seeing the anti-union, anti-teacher comments. Ironically, it’s the same paper I spent a large part of my life working for. People seem to think teachers have it made. We have summers off, work seven hours a day and essentially, and work part-time hours. It’s like any other job; it’s what you make it out to be.
Great, we have summers off. Personally, I need the first three weeks to mentally recuperate. I am that absolutely fried after a school year. Teaching is much more than academics. It’s really about providing a voice for a group of people feel they have no voice. It’s about listening and caring for a population that feels “excluded.” Trust me, eighth graders have plenty to say. They just need someone to listen. I’m not going to get into a lot of specifics about what students deal with. I don’t want to violate the trust my students have in me. But man, I am so glad I am not a young adult.
What is this seven hour day thing people refer to? Last I checked, 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. isn’t a seven hour day. That’s my average day. It’s also my choice to make that an average day. I have certain expectations of what I need to accomplish each day. I am also a father of four and rarely bring my work home. I need to be a dad when I’m home. My kids saw too little of me during my journalism days. They’ve been cheated enough, so I’m not doing that anymore. So my days are longer in order to get student work graded and returned every day. Again, my choice and my expectation of what I think my students deserve.
This part-time hour mentality completely drives me bonkers. I easily exceed 40+ hours a week (really, it’s closer to 50 hours). Last I checked, not part time. Oh, I forgot. We get summers off, so that makes us part time. Honestly, I’m not even wasting my breath on this one.
For the most part, the majority of the people I work with are much the same. They are an incredibly talented and selfless group of educators who are absolutely dedicated to children. If people could see the discussions that take place regarding children in the impromptu meetings that take place every day, attitudes would change. In the interest of being up front, I don’t know what takes place in other districts, just mine. I really think we are making a difference. The school is becoming a learning community. Teachers are teaching each other, teachers are teaching students and students are teaching educators. Educators are formulating strategies, together, to best meet the needs of our students. Every day that I am allowed in the classroom is a day that I’m tremendously blessed.
Education is changing tremendously. Teacher accountability is a focus and rightly so. Let’s not lose sight of why we teach. Children. There are some very exciting things happening in teaching. We just have to be willing to try these things with an open mind. Wow! So much for not having anything to say.
Until next time,