Random blatherings in the trenches of teaching
- When more weeks are "the rough ones" and "weeks from hell" than good weeks, maybe it's time to look at the big picture.
- When the paperwork piles up and makes the everyday work too heavy, maybe it's time to rethink the way of things.
- When the headache starts on the way in to work Monday and diminishes after 5:00 on Fridays, it's a sign that something is amiss.
This year has been one of an unprecedented and unequaled workload. Class size was acceptable for my grade level at the mid-twenties, but students coming from SAGE classrooms (class size reduction) are used to sharing their teacher with fifteen students maximum. Teaching them the independent coping skills they need to survive in a regular-sized class is a challenge, and their parents rarely "get it" unless they have older children who went through the same transition already. Last year I felt like the kids started to get the hang of being fourth graders in January. This year? They're still struggling.
My math class numbers close to 30. It would matter less if the kiddos were accustomed to standard class sizes, but they're not (See SAGE class size, above). They've never had to wait long for attention from the teacher because their classes were half the size of this one. This year, kids with poor self-control are taking hours upon hours of my time, time I'd rather spend helping students who struggle academically.
That's the story of the year. Self control, or the lack thereof, has driven my days. Kiddos who find misbehavior funny and encourage others to get in trouble. Parent who dress their children in t-shirts that announce "Funny how you think I'm listening" and other negative sentiments.
This economy is not one for switching careers or even jobs. But seriously, people, if the stress level continues, children will not get the education they need. And teachers, good ones, are just doing their best and finding it wanting. Stumble It!