Sometimes, I feel I need to find a new profession.

  • Posted on September 27, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I’m a teacher in my eleventh year of teaching.  For the past six years, I’ve taught at an inner-city school, filled with a wonderful mix of students.  I love where I teach and I love what I do.

What I don’t love is my district.  It is the most corrupt, morally reprehensible district I have ever had the misfortune of working for.  In the past four years, I’ve been displaced three times and RIF’d once (layoff notice).  For those few who read my blog and might not be familiar with the term displacement, it means the school no longer has a position open for me and I’m forced to go to another school.  This happened to me at the end of the school year in 2009 (after being at the school for three years), the end of the school year in 2011, and now, five weeks after school has started.  I have packed up and unpacked my room more times than I should ever have to.

I’ve entertained the thought of leaving teaching again.  I left teaching back in 2002, tired of the politics and since I didn’t have my credential, I figured I’d find a job in the “Real World.”  After being away from teaching for awhile, though, I realized how much I missed working with young people, teaching literature that I loved, and helping students become better writers, readers, and thinkers.  So, I buckled down and finished my credential and started teaching again.

Now, eight years later, I’m beginning to wonder if I should consider something else.  I’m lucky to at least have a job that pays our bills, supports our daughter, and I have medical insurance that not only paid for my stay in the hospital, but my daughter’s nine week stay in the NICU and other hospital visits since.  Yes, I’m lucky in the sense that I have a job.  But, I cannot help but feel beaten down and chipped away.  I am constantly bombarded with the idea that as a teacher, I’m the one responsible for my students’ poor test scores.  I’m the one whose fault it is that my students aren’t succeeding.  On one hand, my district is constantly reminding me that we MUST have 100% graduation rate and we MUST raise test scores.  Yet, on the other hand, my district is constantly using teachers like me as a pawn in the games they play.  How on earth are we to help our students succeed if they’re instead being shuffled around like a bunch of cattle?  How on earth is forcing teachers to teach HUGE classes (45-50 students in a class) doing the students any favors?  When I first started at my school, my largest class had 34 students, and my smallest had 21.  Now, it’s rare if my classes dip below 40.  We’re told we must have 42.5 students in each class.  This year, the district has determined we should have extremely large class sizes in the fall so that by spring, when attendance is always lower, our classes will balance out.  How is this rational?  How is having a class of 50 students in the fall so that we’ll have 42 students in the spring, rational thinking?

I’m tired.  My brain hurts.  My stuff is in boxes while I wait for word on whether or not I’ll be going.  I haven’t said anything to my students yet.  I don’t want to because I’m more upset about how they’re being treated than I’m being treated.  What does that say about the state education is in now?  That these students are constantly being shuffled around from place to place, from teacher to teacher, because the district doesn’t give a shit?

***UPDATE***

I received word.  My job is safe, at least for this school year.  I’m angry at exactly how it happened, though, but I really can’t go into the details behind it all.  Who knows what will happen again in the spring?  I miss the years when I just put things away in my cabinets, locked them up, papered over my bulletin boards, and had a nice relaxing summer.  That hasn’t happened to me since 2008.

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