Well, somehow Spring Break was more stressful than relaxing, and I managed not to get any of the things accomplished that I had set out to do. How do I manage to mangle my life so much? It’s truly a mystery…
However I managed it, today is the last day of Spring Break, and in just two days, I’ll be expected to go back to work, to face these people I keep feeling like I’ve let down.
Letting people down seems to be something I’m good at of late… I let my students down by giving up. I let me friends down by being focused on the boy. I let the boy down by not being able to just be his friend. I let myself down by not using this time to find a new job.
And now come Monday, I’ll either have to quit, or pull myself together and make it work until June.
I was inspired to write again today. This time, not by the boy (I’ve spent plenty of time writing about all that, and he doesn’t want to talk to me anyhow), but by a teaching friend of mine. She speaks of her faith and how God led her to teach. I wish I had that kind of faith when it comes to my choices…
As it is, I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing anymore. Teaching seems all wrong, and I don’t know if it’s the place, or if it’s me. I keep screwing up my relationships.
I can’t even seem to be able to focus enough to keep my own promise to finish cleaning my apartment. (Although I need to thank my sexy Mexican neighbor Joe for coming to change the lightbulbs I couldn’t reach! So shout out to Joe, who calls himself my sexy Mexican neighbor!)
I keep wanting to throw in the towel as far as teaching goes. With all my being, I want to walk in on Monday with my letter of resignation and a smile, and tell them to kindly shove this job in a most intimate spot upon their own being.
I won’t do that, but goodness it would feel great, given the level of stress I have surrounding my job. I keep thinking that even something that is called work shouldn’t be this hard…
I just feel like a failure! I know that’s the SADness talking (another grey and nasty day today…), but maybe not. People keep telling me that I’m a good teacher, but I don’t feel like it anymore. I don’t feel like what I’m asked to do is teach. I’m being asked to work miracles, and not being given the tools to make it happen…
And I want to give up. I want to walk away and save my strength so I can fight again another day. I cannot slay this dragon, not this time. I cannot pull a rabbit out of this hat. I see no hope.
But people keep telling me to hold on. The boy said that if even one student wanted to learn, it was worth me staying there. Sexy neighbor Joe just told me that I “wouldn’t quit,” and proceeded to tell me all the highly illegal, but probably effective ways he’d straighten out my students so I could be successful. My mother keeps pointing out that there’s just a little time left. Even my trivia buddies seem to think that I should hang in there.
They’re not the ones having to take Valerian root (or something stronger, but still legal) to get to sleep. They’re not the ones stress eating cookies and potato chips in order just to make it through the day. They’re not the ones contemplating picking up smoking again in order to calm my nerves. They’re not the ones thinking thoughts like “just how bad would a broken leg be?” They’re not the ones waking up in the middle of the night sweating at the thought of failing at my job.
That’s the kicker: If these students don’t pass, I’m the failure. That’s how the system is set up. Even though I’ve been given less than half a year (let’s be honest, less than 2 months!) to get these students ready for the test, I am the one who will be penalized if they fail. Even though they’ve been passed from teacher to teacher since November, and effectively just coloring in all that time, I’ll be the one who’s name is listed as the teacher of record when the test scores come in. I’ll be the one starting my job next year on an improvement plan, with administrators and regional directors and TEA (for all I know) crawling up my butt to make sure I know what I’m doing.
Never mind the fact that my first year teaching, while I was still in my alternative certification program (ACP for short) that I was observed by a representative of TEA and she told my principal that she’d never seen such a flawless execution of the 5E model of teaching…ever. Forget the fact that I didn’t even know what the 5E model was when it happened.
And let’s not discuss that I am good at building relationships, which is the cornerstone of good teaching, just ask anyone who’s been teaching for more than 5 years… but probably less than 30 (the older generation still believes in Drill and Kill methods). I am so good at building relationships that a student I haven’t seen in 2 years just asked me to read his fiction because he needed “an English professional” to check his work.
Or there’s the whole class of students who still tell me that I inspired them to want to learn because I know so much. I still remember one student’s face when he finally asked me a question I didn’t know the answer to. He was proud to have been able to stump me, and then went and looked up the answer himself. He went on to be valedictorian, and is now doing well in college.
I am a good teacher. But I’m scared of my job right now. How do I reconcile those things? How do I go on?