Blogs by Leslie P Garcia
How Many Days Now?
5/2/2007 3:53:58 PM
Teachers get crazy this time of year. Crazier.
Choose your poison: teachers are hard-working, dedicated, and enormously burdened, or teachers are under-worked, overpaid, and get three months off a year and should be burned at the stake. And no, you don't get to choose a middle ground.
Teaching, of course, has become insanely demanding, but at year's end, teachers across the country don't actually have time to count down the days, because the things that make us crazy spiral out of control and crash down on us. Ask.
Now all jobs have their moments, those jump-off the nearest high desk bits of insanity that make employees want to scream, swear,or beat perfectly nice people over the head with large pillows. But teaching...!
This is the time of year when one not only tries to instruct x number of kids, who get rowdier by the day as the weather turns nice, but to also assess--we've been assessing since February in my district--pick up books, hold parent conferences, plan, attend, and participate in science fairs, awards ceremonies, play days, inventories--the list is endless, but luckily, there is only one due date: yesterday.
Along with the paperwork for the end of year, for the summer, for the coming year, one has the usual bout with pinkeye, beligerant cafeteria workers or truancy officers, and if one is on a real roll, a state park ranger ruins the class field trip because his wife's school wanted to go on the same day.
Meanwhile, a semblance of "outside" life beckons, after PTC meetings or unexpected staff meetings, one goes home, sits down on the nearest surface after staring supper, and accidentally conks out, burning supper and forgetting to speak to loved ones at all until morning comes.
Contrary to news reports, most teachers do not want to undermine society, seduce students, or create a population of kids entering adulthood without knowing anything. Most of us endure pay that is way lower than many realize for what we do do, agonize over kids and teaching strategies, and, until near the end of any given school year, are quite human.
We even grit our teeth and sort of smile when the kid who wouln't shut up all year refuses to talk during an oral language test, or when a parent whose kid missed 18 times wants to know why we didn't teach so the child could pass to the next grade. But for some of us, our smile gets a little tight, and there's this strange gleam in our eyes as we mentally whisper that it's almost June. We whisper that almost every time we get hit with a new test to administer immediately, and in my district, that's probably about eighteen times during a seven hour period.
So be kind to a teacher...hey, even patronizing. PRETEND to be kind if you really think we should quit our whining. We're on the edge, here, you know!
This blog entry is admittedly just me blowing off steam; it serves no great purpose and won't change the world. I'm just venting. We teachers call it "venting" now, because that sounds higher-browed than "kbitchin'," which was what my mom might have called it.
And since I'm being selfish and self-serving, let me invite you to jump on over to the bookstore or RioRendezvous and buy your copy of The Cat Chronicles: Stories, Poems, Essays and Photos About Cats and Life.
Hey, if I sold enough copies I could retire and lead a crusade to return sanity to the classroom...even at year's end.
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