Is it summer yet?

Being a teacher is something that I’ve always wanted to do. There is no question in my mind that I was meant to be a teacher and when it’s time, I will retire as a teacher. Politics, standardized testing, teacher pay…all of those issues have caused a lot of people to change careers. I must admit, with all of the complaints that I’m hearing from people I know that are in this profession, I feel pretty lucky to be the kind of teacher I am. Where I teach, standardized testing happens one time at the beginning of the school year. The results of the tests guide our instruction for the rest of the year. There’s no test at the end to determine grade placement for the next school year. I get to teach how I want…I’m given the standards and I teach to them. It’s fun. Most of the time.

Despite all of the advantages of teaching in a non-public school, I still find that I’m burned out. Sometimes it’s because of obnoxious parents or a boss that comes off a little too blunt and abrasive during faculty meetings, but most of what I burn myself out on, is the work that I bring home. It’s probably a well known fact that teachers work longer than 3:00 on a daily basis, and that we have little to no extra time during the day to get lesson plans written and papers graded. So then why do I feel that it’s unfair that I have so much work to do at home? I feel bitter at times, almost to the point where I’m jealous of people with 9-5 jobs that can come home and know that there is no work that has to be done…aside from typical housework.

A colleague of mine, who I mentored during her second year as a teacher, told me that she has a policy that she does not take work home. She and I are very similar in that we don’t have children to occupy our time when we get home. So how could this woman, who is younger than me, have the right idea from the very start, and I still can’t get it after 10 years? There are many answers to this question…from always having my job as my first priority to time mismanagement. Whatever the reason, I am feeling particularly burned out and lazy this weekend. It’s Saturday night and I haven’t even started my lesson plans for next week. When I complained to my husband, he asked me how many weeks there were left in the school year. There was a lot of sarcasm in what he said. With one rhetorical question, he shut down my complaint. Public or private school, new or seasoned teacher, you can’t argue with the fact that there are 16 days left in the school year. With so few days left, there’s no room for complaining. I’m off to start my lesson plans….

6 thoughts on “Is it summer yet?

      1. My year 11 teacher challenged me in Political Studies and gave me a love and passion for standing up for what I believe in. I went on to work for 14 years in Politics. A few years ago my Year 10 son started playing up at school. He had an amazing teacher who judged him on his “potential”, not his “behaviour”. Hence, he treated my son with respect and grace and helped him to finish that year without getting expelled. Now, my son can’t wait till he bumps into Mr. V. again – to thank him. He “showed” my son the meaning of good values, rather than just speaking about them. Cathy – if I could say 1 thing to you it would be this. You may not have any children of your own, but I guarantee that you will be making a huge difference in the lives of “your” children, and helping parents grow their children and their character to reach their fullest potential. It will all be worth it. Don’t underestimate your value. They will go on to speak about you the way I do about teachers that “change lives”. Continue being a “life changer”. Sorry this reply is so long and emotional, but I guess I am thanking YOU as a teacher, because it’s too late for me to thank the ones I should have. So – Thank you CathyMack!

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      2. What a way to make this ‘ready-for-summer’ teacher feel great! Thank you for your kind words! Since we were talking about gifts, really, the best thing I think that I could ever get, is a note from a parent saying thank you. I get a few of those every year and they are the ones that I truly treasure. I have even started a scrapbook with a page or two devoted to every year that I have been a teacher. The best notes have found their way into those pages.

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  1. I don’t think I know anyone with a 9-5 job that doesn’t have too much work to do, and either works extra hours or takes work home. That is save for the idlers who are to be found in any job, making more work for their colleagues. Maybe it looks like that from the outside, and maybe it is like that for some, but they are not people I know, by and large. From the outside, a job where you work just term time looks pretty good to me, but then I suspect that is entirely a function of seeing your field as greener while I muse on the lack of pasture to be had in mine!

    I do know that we are both lucky to find something that challenges us, and makes the most of our skills, while providing job satisfaction. My job, since it doesn’t involve creating the next generation of good citizens with worthwhile goals and values, is, I think, making less contribution to the social good than yours. I hope that will help speed the next 16 days for you, and bring to to your well-earned rest in good cheer. 🙂

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    1. Thank you for putting things in perspective for me! You are absolutely right about the grass always being greener! I should be thankful that I love my job. So many people (like my husband) have piles of extra work to do, but absolutely hate their job. I’m sure these 16 days will fly by, as this whole school year has.

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