Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Don't Drag Down Other Teachers

I've been getting more and more annoyed lately. 

I recently got into a conversation with another teacher in which I ended up crying. 

I was telling them that I was having a rough year. My students are, for the most part, not inclined towards learning. I go home each night and try to figure out what will interest and motivate these particular children. I usually only take 2 hours to myself each night to take a bath and watch a T.V. show on Netflix. 

 I have had success in picking out books that they LOVE. They love to read them and talk about them, but then when it comes down to actually analyzing them, they refuse to put pen to paper or think. 

They also really like my music and prezi lessons, but again, when it comes to using actual critical thinking skills, they just refuse. 

I was explaining all of this to this fellow colleague and how I feel like the focus of society is no longer on education and I just don't know how to make up the difference in my classroom (I am in tears no less)

This colleague's response was, "Oh, I'm so glad to hear you do work at home, because I always wondered. I see you leave school each day at 3:45 and I wondered if you actually did any work."

This irked me to an extreme level for several reasons:
  • I spend each summer writing all my lesson plans ahead of time so I know what I am doing for the ENTIRE year 
  • I spend each summer coming up with new material/lessons to try to keep them modern and fresh (which has branched out to include spending most nights creating new stuff to find more engaging lessons for this particular breed of student)
  • I spend many hours at the start of each new grading period copying all my material for six weeks ahead of time
  • Because of this, I am able to grade essays and written assignments during my planning period
  • Because of my transparency system I am able to grade multiple choice tests in minutes, put them in the grade book, and hand them back before class is even over most of the time
  • I hire students to update my board each afternoon during bus waves (bell ringer, journal question,  agenda, objective, etc...)
  • I RARELY, if ever, write referrals
  • I usually don't have behavior issues in my class (This year has thrown me for a loop I will admit)
  • My standardized test scores have been well above the cut scores and in the 90's the last 4 years
Yet, all of that gets ignored because I leave work at 3:45? That MUST mean I am a lazy good for nothing teacher. 

On top of that even if I DIDN'T go home and do work, how does that make me less of a teacher? If I am getting everything done at school because I am organized, efficient, and have planned my time wisely that is somehow something to feel ashamed about? 

I was still stewing about this comment when I went to a conference yesterday with various teachers. We drove a school vehicle to a location about 2 and a half hours away. 

The two elementary teachers that were with us kept complaining about teachers at their school who leave work to go to the gym at 3:45 and said, "I sure wish I had the time to leave work right at 3:45 and go to the gym. *I* have to stay at work until after 5 most days to grade papers and work on lessons. Sure would be nice to have such an EASY job."

I stewed for the whole 2 and a half hour ride back towards home. 

I have never understood why other teachers want to tear one another down in this way. 

Aren't we all fighting the same fight?

We are all in the trenches together. Why can't we cover each other's backs instead of tearing each other down with friendly fire?


  1. Kacey,
    I read this post and could totally relate. I would not let this person get to you. You are an inspirational teacher who spends hours creating engaging and interesting material. I buy and use all of your creations. Keep doing exactly what you do; sometimes people feel the need to tear another down in an effort to justify their own inadequacies. Sad, but true.
    From all I've read and seen; you ARE making a difference!

    1. Thank you!

      It seems to be a growing trend to "compete" with others, which I just don't get!

  2. Kacey,
    I've been teaching 25 years and my standard response is - "I find that teachers either come in early, stay late, take work home with them or do it over the summer. Trust me, students will eat you alive if they think you are not giving them your best."

    This person is obviously jealous of your success because your units are awesome and inspiring. You are generous with your ideas and work you share with others and I am sure your students benefit from all your efforts.

    Don't take the negative comments personally. Assume it is a reflection of the person saying it, rather than you. Keep doing what you are doing!

    1. Thank you for your comment!

      I know I shouldn't take these things to heart, but sometimes it just wears you down!

  3. Sometimes it amazes me how other teachers can be so insensitive. I have two young children at home so I am out the door soon after the school day ends. For some reason it is assumed my day ends there. I can guarantee there are many nights that I am working long after my colleagues are in bed!

    Hang in there! You know that you are an awesome teacher! I'm sure some of the thoughtlessness may be due to jealousy. It's sad that instead of being insensitive they can't ask you for some of your great ideas to improve their teaching.

    1. These teachers are actually not teaching the same subject as I am or I could perhaps attribute it to jealousy!

      I suppose it could irk them that I am able to leave at 3:45 and they cannot however?

      I try to share everything I have with people in the same subject area as myself. I believe that I have a wonderful relationship with the other english teachers...so I suppose that shows something as well!

      Thank you for your kind words! :)