Saturday, March 1, 2008

Forgive my rant...

Well, it's been one long week since my last post. And I hate to say this- but I'm counting down to the end of the school year. There's no worse realization than to notice that you're wishing your life away. I became painfully aware of this as our wedding was approaching. Of course, my relationship with Josh gave me a lot of new meaning and love for my life. That made me want to cherish every day and every minute in hopes that life would feel forever long. I really wanted the wedding to hurry and get here, but I didn't want it all to be over. I promised myself I would thoroughly enjoy the engagement, and I did. It was the other elephant in my life that made me count down every single day. I have multiple calendars and lists of dates with each day giddily crossed off. What could make me so happy for my beautiful life to be passing by? Work.

Now I'm sure most teachers count down to the end of the school year. We all know the feeling of looking forward to summer break, even winter and spring break. But I go into work every day just wanting the day to be over. If I never saw any of my students another day in my life, I would be happier. If my building were to explode and I never walked through it again, I'd be happier. I could even stand to be "let go," Apprentice-style where you go straight home without saying goodbye to anyone. And that's the part that makes me really sad. I dislike my job so much that I'd be willing to walk away from people I actually care about without ever saying goodbye.

I don't doubt for a second that I was cut out for teaching. I know I was. But I wasn't cut out for the children in my school or the administration who is afraid of them. I think on some level we're all afraid of them. I'm afraid of when they reach voting age. I'm afriad of when Josh or someone else we know is their boss at work and they treat the boss with the same disrespect they treat me and the other adults in their lives. I'm also afraid for them. I just don't know how they're going to get by in life having the attitudes they've been raised with.

The school system, administrators, counselors and teachers are perpetually trying to figure out how to help the kids who continuously fall behind despite having potential. The bottom line is that something has to come from within them if they're going to succeed. Just like you can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped, or change someone who doesn't want to change, you can't teach someone who doesn't want to learn. And the hardest part of teaching is trying to instill the desire to learn and succeed. I teach a culture of students who believe that they do no wrong. They draw no line between adult and dirt. They speak to teachers and peers alike with attitude, disregard, and disrespect. They are not responsible for their actions, grades, or words. One day they all believe they'll have a job that pays them infinite amounts of money for the same amount of effort they're putting into their education now - none. They are all better than everyone around them, and those people should know it.

I started teaching because I wanted to make a difference in children's lives. I wanted to help kids learn and grow up to be productive contributors to society. But it's incredibly disheartening, discouraging and disgusting when for 7 hours a day, every day your hard work and tireless efforts are thrown in your face by the very people you're trying help. It's frustrating enough that they're totally engrossed in conversation while I'm teaching or while they're supposed to be working on an activity. But the frustration is ten fold when I interrupt them to encourage their participation in the lesson and they respond to me like I'm beneath them. A good example is when a student entered my classroom yelling the F word. I calmly (because this isn't unusual in my school) said, "you need to watch your language." The student snapped back almost before I ended my sentence, "I ain't watching my language!" As in, don't tell me what to do lady, I'll do what I want and I dare you to stop me. This is sixth grade, 11-year old children. I've had others tell me that they run the school. Who would spend 30 years of their precious life putting up with such abuse? Despite my efforts, they might not ever achieve their dreams, but they're ruining mine at the same time.

Right now I am working on my master's to become a school counselor, Lord knows these children need some serious counseling. But even with that, is there anything that can undo 12 years of improper child rearing? I hate to make this comparison, but like criminals when sent back into their former environments, these kids go home to the same bad habits and lack of guidance that has turned them into who they are. I don't know if any teacher or counselor can counteract that.

1 comment:

  1. This is exactly why I admire teachers and why I don't think I could do it!! All I can say is keep your chin up Em, you have no idea whose life you are touching without knowing it. I mean, I was always a pretty quiet kid in class, but I used to just practically worship some of my teachers from afar. Just remember that you are touching some of the kids, and try to focus on them. That's about all I can say since I haven't been in your situation. I have been in the situation where I hated my job though, and that's pretty much what got me through was making a very very conscious effort to focus on one good thing about the job. It sucks. Sorry Em! But you still rock!


I love hearing from you!