Sometimes, I don’t even know what I’m feeling either. Or maybe it’s too many things at one time and I need to be still and process them.
Because the state I’m in starts school in mid-August, teachers report in 9 days. I am one part dread and two parts excitement. I’ve been going to my office at school periodically throughout the summer to get some basic work done (the kind that requires no thought! like filing and cleaning and such) so that when I do go back for reals, I will be able to do the important, more difficult work without so many distractions.
I am worried about so many things that are out of my control or require assistance from colleagues whom I don’t completely trust to do their jobs. That sounds so arrogant, I know, but seriously — some of my colleagues, who are good, kind, even fun people are not worriers like I am and let things slide or tell me to calm down (oh my God but I hate those words) when all I’m doing is asking them to do their jobs. Yes, they are people you would want to ask to a party long before you’d want to ask my worrying, intense, unfun behind. But you’d want me to have your back and be the person there to help you get something done. I know that people say don’t worry about the things you can’t control, but that doesn’t help me. I don’t worry about the things I *can* control because, duh, I can do something about those!
We have several new teachers this year (we always have new teachers — even though we’re a small school, we’re a hard one and we lose 5-8 staff per year, it seems) and we have “old” staff teaching different classes and curriculum. Inclusion this first semester should be interesting, if for no other reason than we have three new English teachers and our math teachers are switching classes up. Sad to say our dual-enrollment classes didn’t make. We have excellent teachers who were excited and ready and working with our local community college to prepare these classes, but not enough of our students scored in the required range on their standardized science tests to qualify for the DE classes. We are trying, the students are trying, but there are so many obstacles for these students and only some of them can be addressed in the classroom…
I have no solutions to offer about this circumstance. I’m not even sure I have any coherent, helpful thoughts about possible supports and solutions. Yes, I have some opinions but I’m not going to share them at the moment because sometimes my opinions don’t deserve a platform, even one as small as this. But there are so many things wrong in our educational system that stem from problems in our culture and society that I cannot even begin to unravel all the problems, much less present The Right Way to fix it all.
Except we don’t read to our kids enough. I do know that. We don’t show them that books are MAGIC, time travel and space travel and extrasensory perception and sharing the thoughts of those much greater and much smarter than ourselves, all that makes life beautiful and worth living. No, we don’t do that. And we need to, because these kids deserve better than what we as a culture and we as educators who represent (whether we realize it or not) what matters in our society are offering to them.
Yes, I am all over the whiteboard today, I get that. I am worried and sad about too many things right now, and trying to be positive for the school year and trying to think of good ways to impart knowledge and even a bit of wisdom and desire for the life of the mind to these kids, even if they don’t think they want that.
Pray for me, my beloved friends who are taking time to read this. But even more, pray for my students. They deserve good teaching and caring teachers. I want to be part of that for them…