One of the best parts about teaching is building relationships. When you have to be with your work family more than your real family then you better like them. I was thankful to work at a place for 15 years where I enjoyed the people. An added bonus is finding a leader that pours into 7 years after she has retired.
Tonight we celebrated this mentor as we caught up and looked back at the good, the bad and the beautiful of education. Thankful she still laughs and cries with us all these years later. Whenever we need her, she is there. Find that mentor or be that mentor; they are more precious than gold!
Covid has wreaked havoc on education. Sub shortages, teachers leaving the profession, kids with anxiety and on medication…now even the leaders are retiring. So the big question is “Why?”
The short answer is apathy. In order to keep schools afloat and not ruin an academic future, schools required as little as possible. We took one grade per week, made most assignments optional, gave a choice to show up in person…we made learning easy and students got comfortable. However, what we were doing was hardly education. We were surviving.
When schools reopened, we again made many things optional and the virtual experience became a joke. Students got a year of very minimal learning as most teachers were forced to do a hybrid learning model. So now even though school was back in session, the learning struggled as teachers were overwhelmed balancing both. Later, Texas tested all of our kids while saying it did not count…was a baseline for the future. Wrong!
HB4545 is attempting to bridge the gaps of the horrific scores that “did not count” while frustrating teachers and making them feel defeated. Students have seen how minimal effort can bring a grade and failing is still nearly impossible so why put in more than the minimal? Then we got the sub issue.
Certain districts pay more than others so subs are really community members that love their community.
Watching the Amazing Race episode 3 when they shut down due to Covid, reminded me I have trauma. Trauma from life shutting down and my job closing. Trauma from sending kids home with one hug and a good bye. Trauma from virtual teaching. Trauma from homeschooling as a teacher. Trauma from learning new things and putting them to use quickly. Trauma from wanting to teach but realizing we are just giving a grade…most kids did as little as possible.
The teacher trauma is real!
Now we have schools with anxious students and teachers and leaders in very stressful situations. Balancing everyone’s mental health and not wanting anyone to break.
So here we are…brave educators digging in deep to ride this out. Kids are fragile so we all must walk carefully. No other job impacts children like teaching and I am here to stay…but things are challenging as you have to choose between scores and sanity.
It is what is, but the more support the better! Parents show you care. Teachers check on each other. Leaders show grace and compassion and serve your staff. Students come to school to learn. We can conquer this together. God is with us and suffering produces perseverance. The answers are complicated, but hope and love are strong and I believe in our business and system.
New school year brings new fun and a new level of busyness. I am still teaching 5th grade, but with a new team so that always brings new challenges. This looks to be the first year in three that we might be in school the entire year! I cannot teach virtually ever again so praying we survive the winter! I finally have my joy back in teaching after Covid took it away! This year I am a coach for Battle of the Books, UIL, mentor teacher and Webmaster (ha!). You know I feel good when I choose to add more roles (and work) to an already busy life as mom and teacher.
Hard to believe, but my son is in 3rd grade. I hate how STAAR affects our SPED kids, so I have been dreading this year. Also praying that ridiculous HB4545 disappears because it is doing nothing but making a hard job harder. Hopefully, we can find a place for this test that saves education until then I will advocate as a mom and continue to push through as a teacher.