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?