Dear Teacher Friends,
I have decided today like I decided every other day for the past 6 years not to quit teaching. I am courageously sharing my decision to wake up tomorrow and walk back in to my classroom where 32-40 mostly sleepy faces will greet me with the love and affection of a grunt as I smile and hold open the door.
Amazingly, I have not found in my understandably short six years that students have suddenly and magically become monsters from hell. I have apparently not been teaching long enough to remember the perfect angel teenagers of the 50s? 60s? 70s? Really the 80s? My students screw up every single day. My students are massively distracted by their iphones, headphones, fingernails, hair, neighbor’s nose, and possibly by their own nose. And yet I persevere through their distraction to understanding because I never actually thought that teenagers had undivided attention. My students are occasionally rude, sarcastic, and gross, all at the same time. This is my HUGE GINORMAUS cross to bear. Weirdly, this doesn’t bother me at all. Did you know I signed up to teach them? Not the nice ones, although they are a solid bonus. Not the clean ones, although plus points there, too. Or the smart ones or the easy ones or the kind ones. I am super surprisingly not quitting teaching. In fact, I will continue to show up everyday for each and everyone of them. Because that is what I signed up for.
I decided today not to quit because national standards are trying to erase inequality in a way that makes my job more challenging. Weirdly, I don’t find having to read and interpret standards a burden. In fact, I never thought I’d just be able to walk into a classroom and teach whatever the heck I wanted. So strange. I decided not to quit teaching today even though there are 4 days this year and 8 days last year that I am being pulled out of my classroom to talk about my practice and how to improve it. ABSURB. I am sticking with this shit even though I have to develop as an educator.
I am not quitting teaching even though I worked 12 hours with students yesterday to ensure under the system at my school that every child attains competency on every standard. Did you know before I agreed to be a teacher I had heard they worked long hours? I even have to give them feedback when the are not in class and find ways to communicate that feedback with their parents. This shockingly takes a shit ton of time. I mean I hear in the good old days of teaching you went home at 4:00pm. Right? That you never worked nights or weekends? This is a real thing, correct? Yet even with these drastically high expectations of me and my work with children I will still not be quitting tomorrow.
Lastly, I am not quitting tomorrow because I am not an idiot. I got in to this job with my eyes open, knowing on a good day it would crush my soul, energy, and brain. I do expect that like any other job it will change and my feelings on it will change and when it does maybe I will quit but it won’t be because this job wasn’t what I thought it would be. It won’t be because I have suddenly and completely lost faith in the system. Because if that was the case I would just know how much more important it was for me to be there. Education is not for the weak of soul, energy, or brain and while I am not some magical teacher fairy with limitless supplies of any of these I am committed.
Mostly, I am committed to never reading another fucking letter from a disgruntled teacher about their decision to quit. If you feel like writing one of those let me know and I am happy to give you suggestions just where you can put it.