I went to a blogging for beginners class at the University of Texas tonight. Yeah, I am learning how to do this stuff from scratch. I had been jotting down all kinds of new ideas based on the feedback that I received from some awesome colleagues. At the time that I am writing this I have four subscribers! It doesn’t sound like much but to me it is pretty awesome. So, what if they happen to be my dad, my girlfriend, her roommate and a colleague! I AM LOVING IT! We few…we mighty few…we band of brothers!
Speaking of bands of brothers.While waiting for the class to start, I notice the sound of applause coming from a class room. I walked in and their was a teacher pinning ceremony going on. I have no idea what that means, but I noticed something on their faces. That look. That rebellious, naive, smile. That starry-eyed, dreamer, look. The one that said that we were going to fix all the problems of public education from the inside out! That look that said, “Look out world! Here comes the greatest teacher ever!”
Remember that look? We all had it! We had accomplished everything that our schools of education told us we needed. We knew how to write lesson plans and create great boards for our classrooms. We were going to go out and be the bright, shiny, light that pierced the darkness of No Child Left Behind, and we were going to make a difference in children’s lives. You know what look I’m talking about!
Then something happened. Something we never planned for. Something our professors never taught us about. Something our student teacher portfolios could never prepare us for…REALITY!
We were smacked in the face head on, by not getting hired off the bat, getting cut in our first year, dealing with the undermining red tape of educational bureaucratic bullshit. Parents that don’t care. Parents that care too much. We ended up getting bogged down in the quick sand of incompetent administrators, colleagues with negative attitudes, the never-ending news feeds of teacher sex scandals. School boards and state administrators, made up of ass-hats, who have never even step foot in the classroom, bringing down upon us unreasonable, unrealistic, expectations, while providing us with no tools, and a salary that no one can live comfortably on….and don’t get me started about Betsy “the Anti-Christ” DeVos!
Being that we are in the last few weeks of the school year fellow teachers, I find it difficult as well, to remember the person behind that stupid looking, starry-eyed grin. I sit in puzzlement at where all that energy went. I ask myself often, is this even worth it anymore. I know that it is normal around this time of year to feel defeated by forces well beyond our control. With all of the state mandated testing, remediation for said testing and the constant bitching about it(I am just as guilty). It’s hard not to throw in the towel and say, FUCK THIS….RED PEN OUT! (MIC DROP.) Then it happens. That one kid you have been fighting with all year finally turns in his work on time. He’s going to pass your class. The students talk about how much they are going to miss you. They bring you peanut butter cups, and letters, saying “thank you, we love you, you never gave up on us and because of that I now know that I can accomplish anything I put mind too.” That kid, and we all have that kid…who fought you tooth and nail all year long…looks you in the eye and says thank you for teaching me. It is in those moments teachers, where we remember that naive, kid with stupid ass starry-eyed look. Even though our batteries are shot, and our fuel is fast approaching empty over the vast ocean that is the school year….remember that kid with the naive, stupid ass starry-eyed look on their face. What would they tell you? Teachers…you are my heroes. Like me, you show up every day and you work the problem. Summer is almost here! Recharge and remember that starry-eyed look. Fight till the gasp! Those faces we see looking up at us every day….they need us.
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