I have a confession. Sometimes I want to quit teaching. gulp. You read that right. Sometimes I just don’t want to me a teacher anymore. Let me explain.
(First, I want to make it clear that I love teaching. It is a huge part of me an who I am. I believe that God put me on this Earth to be a Kindergarten teacher. I don’t just like my job, I love it. Let me vent, THEN let me share with you why I keep teaching in spite of the setbacks.)
But sometimes, I just don’t want to be a teacher anymore. Here are some of the reasons why.
I don’t want or need to constantly assess students.
I want to inspire my students to be the best THEM they can be. This means I want to engage their learning and make them want to be with me everyday. I want to teach them at their level and in fun ways. This also means I do not want to assess them so often and formal assessments. I loath pretests to see how they will do on the actual test. Guess what? I don’t need to do formal assessments all the time to know what my kids know. Instead, I talk with my students, have discussions, and play meaningful games to let them naturally show me what they know. Assessments rarely, if ever, shock me.
I teach a whole child, not a data point students.
Data can not show everything that a whole child can show. I know this student may not be “in progress” on their latest assessments and we really want them in the “mastered” category. But I know their parents recently separated and she is having a tough time with it. Or that a new sibling was born in the family. Perhaps a grandparent passed away. Maybe this little one just started off the year so low that in progress right now is actually amazing for them.
The lack of funding is shameful.
A few hundred dollars for a classroom full of children is just flat out ridiculous. (And some teachers don’t even get that much.) Add to that amount the time it takes to get a lucky PO processed and it is almost pointless. (And this assuming the items you need can even be purchased through a PO.) We, meaning the whole class, need writing paper, construction paper, art supplies, headsets, math manipulative, cooking supplies, and the other half a million items to makes hands on activities possible. Almost none of these said items are funded. When you throw in the fact that curriculum is constantly changing and we are required to teach these changes, even without any materials to teach them with, this will make you cry.
Support for teachers is lacking.
Parent demands. Administration demands. Student demands. So many people demanding your time and attention, but the amount of the amount of time you have to do these demands doesn’t change. Most people don’t see the 1054 correct choices you make. This wears you down.
The paperwork process is S L O W L Y killing me.
And it is constantly changing. EIP, SST, RTI, IEP, ESOL, and so much more. Document. Prove. Collect the data. This year we need this. Now we need that. Just one more step. Just another data point. Two strategies per area of weakness. This child was absent on this day, so you have to remember to make it up on the next day. I have to remind myself to breath! But then to remember to write down the date, time, and duration to enter that info in the computer as well.
But I Remain a Teacher
In spite of all the reasons I listed, I do not quit teaching. Here is why.
It is simple. I am here for the students. God put me on this Earth to teach Kindergarten. This is my role. As an educator, I believe in these little learners. These students are our future. I know that my place is with them and in creating a learning environment for them. Furthermore, I want to help students. I want to ensure these future leaders of society get their basic needs met. Then, I want to educate them to be self thinkers. I want to uplift them to know themselves and to find their purpose on Earth.
So I carry the burdens listed above for my students. This means I take the bad days just like I take the good ones. I take time to pray for my students, to pray for my students’ families, and to pray for those in leadership roles in education. More so, I speak up on behave of my students when needed. I try to make each requirement as fun and engaging as possible. I strive to change my mindset about the negatives into positives.
When you have those bad days, those moments of discouragement and negativity… take a deep breath. Know you are not alone. We all have these moments and these days. Concentrate on your purpose and your goals. Remember who you are and why you are in the role you are in.