Saturday, June 7, 2008

Addendum to Making a Joyful Noise

I felt a little guilty after my last post. A long time ago someone gave me a plaque that read -Three reasons to be a teacher - June, July and August. I really didn't like that sentiment and I eventually threw it out. Of course, teachers don't become teachers just for summer vacations. Anyone who believes that isn't a teacher. However, it's a wonderful thing to have a career, earn a living, do something meaningful and still have time for your real life. For me, it's time to write, (my second book will be into heavy revision) see friends and family, maybe paint a picture, catch up on a neglected house, and already I don't feel like there will be enough summer for all the things I want to do. I am truly grateful for all of that.
The impression I do not want to give is that I can't wait to get away from students. I don't. The adults - well, maybe. Here's what we need a break from - unreasonable expectations of us with less time and materials to work with, some administrators that don't trust our judgement or even that we're doing our job, standardized testing that judges our efforts without considering the circumstances, parents that don't show up to conferences but blame us for their child's problems, inadequate working conditions, being subjected to every new education fad that comes down the road and then seeing it disappear in two to three years.
Last week I received a piece of paper in my school mailbox saying my assignment for 08-09 is working in two buildings. No one spoke to me about it. I've been in my present building for 13 years. I don't want to go to another building. I do not want my day split in two. I do not want to be somewhere else when my students need a test read to them or help with something else. It may not sound like a big deal, but every teacher I talked to felt panicked by my news. We have a union, but we are only guaranteed A job, not the job we want or feel we're best at. Basically, it will suck. Suddenly I won't belong in either building. I sent an email to my supervisor about my concerns and the fact that, as a team, the special ed teachers and the principal had already planned next year - but she didn't even acknowledge my email.
At the end of the year we often see retired teachers at certain events. We are always amazed by the fact that they look younger than when they left us - they look rested and relaxed. Hmmmm.
So, I do still like kids and I love seeing them learn - but all the other stuff I can do without. Fortunately, the contentment of summer allows me to sort of forget all that stuff and I always seem to be ready to go back in the fall - hoping for a better year.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Every teacher I know says similar things about the bureaucracy, etc.

What they're doing to you next year sucks. I hope something can be worked out.

Scott R. Davis said...

I AGREE. life sometimes does that. But God is much bigger than that.

I am testimony to having been brought up in both worlds. I grew up starting out in a private school in Albertson N.y. at the Henry Viscardi School. I was there in the special school for the handicapped for almost 8 years. I was born in Cleveland Ohio and was born with many handicaps which through my parents and God I have been overcoming.
Went through hell in the transition to public school but administrators who were at my school full time helped with the transition . Yet, they were rough years of hell. So may God give you grace to bring a smile to one of your students. Even if they can write their name or have a good day.

for life is a gift. for inspiration,

Kelly Jene said...

I took your last post as a joy-filled entry into a vacation time. As all who are employed enjoy. You're a great teacher, I can tell just by how you write. I sure hope the problem is taken care of and you are in one place next year not two. It seems the school day is hectic enough without having to relocate every day!

CJM-R said...

I agree with Kelly that I also know you are a great teacher who is very dedicated to your students. Who doesn't love the summer break?

I am not teaching, but my job is split up into 3 different buildings and it is so hard to manage. Hopefully you will be able to work it out with the admin or at least they can make it doable for you if they won't change it.

Enjoy your time off! You deserve it!

Mary said...

I thought your last post was truly a joyful noise. It wasn't negative. We all need to regenerate - especially teachers.

Sis said...

I can totally relate, being a therapist in our schools...the paperwork alone for Special Ed teachers is horrendous.

I feel the same way every May - but by August, I'm ready to see "my" kids again...

Have a restful summer!

bonnie said...

Ugh, you cry the laments of so many in the school system. Enjoy your summer.

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