On Teaching

What do you think about public school teaching? Have you had experience teaching? Do you know someone that has? Did you or did they survive?

I am at a crossroads. I have never ever wanted to be a public school teacher in America. Overseas, as a language teacher, yes. Here – never.

Yet, here I am. I am decent at it. I am respected by peers and administration and mostly respected by parents. I could keep working day and night and be one of the best, without a doubt. But I don’t really enjoy much of it. The kids, they are adorable and fun. They wear me out, but sometimes the things they say help me feel not so exhausted. The kids are only a tiny piece of the puzzle.  There’s also the testing (a ginormous piece), the constantly shifting expectations, the million initiatives imposed by those far removed from the classroom, the observations, the pressure to perform at 100% every day, to hold the entire world together while meeting the emotional and academic needs of 23 six-year-olds, teaching character and patience while hanging desperately to your own.

The planning consumes all of the time off-stage. The job is multi-layered. Sometimes other teachers can be cruel (with looks or quick comments) to each other as they are deflecting the stress of holding their own world of little people together.

What stands in the way of America adopting successful strategies used in institutions abroad? Maybe this time in my life is just as much of a learning period for me as it is for all of the littles involved.

A million questions surround me. I trust it will make sense. Until then, I will push on and continue to give all of me to this profession. Prayers for continued strength and sanity are much appreciated.

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2 thoughts on “On Teaching

  1. I did public High School: no choice otherwise considered, I mostly ignored my teachers, paid attention as it was useful, and mostly did my homework in class. It (me) got me into Cornell, then Harvard Medical School. It was a crazy place without anything like discipline or order; we were largely on our own, and some of us were up to it. Many not. Not their fault, I’d guess. It was a crazy place; I spent every Assembly for the last two years playing pool at the local college. Why? Because I could.

  2. Gary Greeno says:

    I just began my 25th year as a public school teacher. What you have described seems so exhausting!! I teach high school and it’s so much easier than the little guys! I love teaching this age because of the difference an adult role model can make.

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