November 11, 2012

I Can't Believe I'm Considering This

I honestly felt I found my true calling when I became a teacher. From the moment I started grad school everything felt right. I loved setting up my classroom, determining procedures, planning my lessons, engaging with my students... it was a dream job.

And then, this year happened.

I was warned by several friends and family not take this job.

"I'm afraid that environment is going to destroy everything you love about teaching," Carolyn warned me. "You're a fantastic teacher," she told me, "and I don't want this to change you."

But I needed a job. I needed the benefits. And I was desperate to have my own classroom again instead of subbing.

And now I hear her words over and over again in my head. Because she was right. I hate my job. Hate it! Not the kids, at least not as people. In fact, developing relationships with students is still the best part of my job.

But I'm beyond exhausted because of the rest of it. Teaching in a charter school means you are micro-managed to death. Joel keeps lamenting that I spend my whole weekend working, when the truth is, I spend the whole weekend filling out their stupid lesson plan format, not actually making my lessons. It's a colossal waste of time. I have to log, on our discipline site, every time I give a kid a warning about behavior. Don't they realize this is a full time job in itself? Oh, and I have to log, on another site, every conversation I have with every parent. Ever. And someone comes around every period and checks your name off on a spreadsheet to make sure you're doing hall duty. So don't try to run to the bathroom in the 3 minutes between classes! And about once a week, you'll get an email from your department head or AP about yet another spreadsheet they need ASAP so they can track something else about your students. So, you'll have to work on that during your "planning time" too.

Any amount of freedom or creativity I've experienced in the past 6 years of teaching is all but gone. They do not value authentic learning because they focus so much on teaching to the damn standardized test. Even my AP agreed with me on Friday when I said this isn't authentic learning. He said, "This isn't the best practice, but it's what we do because the test is so important."

All they care about is numbers. This is so frustrating to me. There is a lot of learning that happens in my classroom that simply cannot be assessed on a multiple choice test. But they don't care about that learning. And don't you dare try to do any fun formative assessments; it must be a LEAP-aligned exit ticket.

I'm so grateful Thanksgiving is next week because I'm seriously at my breaking point. For the first time since becoming a teacher, I'm seriously questioning whether or not I want to do this for the rest of my life. I know teaching doesn't look like this everywhere, but I do think teaching looks more like this than what I experienced in suburban Chicago. So unless I can get another one of those jobs, I just don't think I want to do this again.

I'm starting to do some research about alternative careers. I still want to work with kids, this much I know for sure, but I don't want to be in a job where my effectiveness rests so heavily on their ability to show mastery on one stupid test.


1 comment:

  1. I taught in a low-income area for two years. I knew I had three choices:
    1. Stay and become very bitter.
    2. Stay, be passionate, and become a Workaholic.
    3. Leave.

    I left.
    I'm much happier now. It's not easier, it's just different.

    Get your resume going, and start hunting for fall.