“What About You?”

 

Welcome! I am a Language Arts teacher in an alternative high school in Colorado, and have been in the profession for five years. While in high school, I had dreams to somehow work in education and focus on improving the lives of all kids through teaching. Through teacher training, teaching in Belize, an urban charter school in Cincinnati, and now in an alternative school in Colorado, I have kept this blog to stay connected, ask questions, support other teachers, and get support from them. Sharing what happens in my classroom is important to me because I think the more stories we share, the more humanized educators become in a teacher-bashing era.

We’re living in a country where education is not equal. So, what are we going to do about it? What are you going to do about it? I don’t really have many answers as much as I have questions. But I hope to get there someday—all of us, not just educators.

The title of this blog, “Those Who Can, Teach,” is inspired by a wonderful teacher’s poem, “What Teachers Make.” His name is Taylor Mali, and he is an inspiration to many teachers. Thank you, Mr. Mali, for the words that remind us we are worth far more than a salary. You can read the poem here and listen/watch his incredible performance here.

-S

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2 comments

  1. Oh my gosh you are me. You put all my thoughts and feelings into words. I’m an infj elementary teacher. It’s only my second year teaching but I’m questioning if I can even do it. I also have this guilt for questioning it! Everyone knows me as the perfect teacher and I do believe I’m good at it and I totally believe in the purpose behind my teaching. But after school I have nothing left emotionally to give to others. The thought of talking to anyone or doing anything social is exhausting! So I’m so torn because I don’t want to live like that.. I don’t want to teach if everything else suffers. I don’t even know who to talk to for guidance here because many people see me as mor extroverted and I don’t think they’d understand. I’d love any feedback!

    1. Disclaimer: this is long-winded! Thank you so much for your comment. I definitely have to give elementary teachers way more credit than they get for how demanding their jobs are (especially if they’re introverted). You really are “on” all of the time! I’m sorry you’re experiencing guilt, and I know exactly how that feels. Obviously we need balance to be energized, and with so many demands, that balance almost seems impossible. Here is something I know the elementary schools in my district are doing: They are using their collective bargaining to limit unnecessary use of their time (data teams, plc meetings, after school duties, etc). They almost have no planning time because it is used up by other duties. I have found some teachers in my building who are part of the union and can represent my views (I also joined a union). I do not think someone with a love for teaching should be driven out because of unrealistic and overwhelming responsibilities. Now, for the more difficult part: the actual act of teaching requires extroversion, but you can build in “quiet time” into classes that will benefit you and other introverts. With elementary, this can be challenging I’m sure. Do not try to be someone you’re not. I do believe that the more experience you have, the less overwhelming things are. (Check out this post at Cult of Pedagogy, which brings to light how things can get overwhelming and what to do with that). Last year I made the decision to enjoy teaching as much as possible, and let go of the things that made life more stressful, more extroverted, and just more…unfun. I wanted to be the “best” teacher, and that almost drove me out of the profession (and resulted in many rant sessions to my husband). It will NOT get easier if you have that much pressure. We just don’t get paid enough for that, in the end 🙂 To do this work, you need to have a life—social life, exercise, and family time is what is going to keep you going. I really hope you can target the things that will give you energy, and stay in education–especially if this is only your second year. It will get better—I promise. Experience pays off. Best of luck and keep me posted in how it’s going 🙂

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