Tuesday, August 21, 2012
I almost cried at work today. I felt like I am wasting my life and energy. I earned honors at school but knowledge is not honored by teenagers! But I also felt a sense of shame that I have never been able to find work that suits me better.
I had that kind of frantic thought that I just have to be able to quit my job (high school teacher)but I know I won't. Kids really resent that I try to keep order in class and that I insist on them actually trying to understand the material. I'm not always nice about it, I admit it.
Then I got a message that a parent wants to speak to me because she thinks I have a personality clash with her son. He is always yelling out comments that have nothing to do with the lesson and talking to peers when he isn't supposed to. Then he gives me smart-aleck backtalk when I ask him to do what he needs to do. He claims he doesn't know what he's doing wrong. Honestly? Do parents think it's okday for their kids to act the same familiar way at school as they do at home? Amazing to me is that the other teacher in class rarely tries to stop him. I know he doesn't approve of the behavior, but he rarely says anything to the kid. I feel I am being called to task for doing the right thing even if it rocks the boat. The boy is actually doing okay in grades now, but he earned mostly D's and F's last year. Did he have personality clashes with those teachers, too? Or did he not have them because they assumed he was a loser and not worth the erffot? I hate to tell you this, but that is what a lot of teachers think. Why should they let themselves get stressed over kids who obviously have no need or desire to please anyone else in their life? I do definitely have more run-ins with students than most of my peers and I feel resentment that their more tolerant attitude actually works better for their anxiety level and with parents. I can't blame them, though. The work is not a perfect match for me, but at almost age 59 and having entered the career late, I can't afford to retire nor go back to the low wages I was earning before. I will lose most of my social security that I qualified for because I became a teacher, too.
Then in a different class, where I teach with another person, kids were asking if they had to put my name on a short essay they had to turn in. (I guess they had no idea that I was the one who created the assignment and set it up so that they would be successful instead of handing in some crappy work that they would then complain about if they didn't get an A because they "tried.") They were implying that they wish I wasn't their teacher. I wonder if they have any sense of how hurtful some of the things they say are? Things have changed so much. Kids criticize and blame all the time during class. Usually it's the students who know very little of the lesson, don't ask questions to try to understand, and never know an answer when you do ask them to contribute to the lesson who are constantly complaining.
Anyway, thank goodness I didn't eat over it.
And one cute thing was that a student I had last year, that I gave plenty of grief to over his very frequent off-taks behavior, saw me and asked how the year was going. I said the kids were wishing they could get rid of me. He said, "Well, they're just stupid sophomores! What do you expect?" Out of the mouths of babes...