Of course, I'm sure you have the same complaints. Education is no longer an eight-hour job. For years, teachers have let small pieces of their personal rights be divided, one year at a time. I can't tell you the times I have had to pick between calling a parent and meeting an administrator or joining a PLC group. Fortunately, I work in a district with some wonderful people who put students (and families) first; however, those people are becoming obsolete. I hear from colleagues all over the nation who struggle with this unique career we call teaching. Many of my peers see, instead of supportive administrators, the trend of "high-stakes testing and accountability." I have heard of schools where teachers are berated for student performance and not given opportunities for growth. In this type of setting, it's easy to become frustrated . . . to feel dejected, overwhelmed, and alone.
Before you get too depressed, though, perk up! How do you make sense of it all? Over the years, I have found ways to keep my head above water. For me, my go-to method is prioritizing. Prioritizing is the key to my sanity. I spend some time each afternoon planning my next day's agenda. While not a fail-safe plan, this simple method has kept me sane for almost, big gulp, 20 years. Additionally, I have learned to put kids first through simply enjoying them. Now this method sometimes becomes murky, especially when I have a, ahem, not so enjoyable group. In those moments, I try to remind myself they ARE kids and I AM the adult. Last, but certainly not least, I keep my head above water by keeping it all in perspective. At the end of the day, especially if it has been a looooooooooong day, I ask myself one simple question, "Why am I doing this?" Thankfully, my response has been the same throughout my whole career - I love kids!
What about you? How do you keep your head above water? Do you feel the pressures? I'd love to hear from you.