Tuesday, October 24, 2017

When Passion & Reality Collide!

Teaching is my passion...I love it.  I love my kids. I love working with children, seeing light bulbs go off, and inspiring young minds.  I love getting to be a part of empowering a child and showing them that they can learn anything and be anything they want. I love it.

I love teaching........but I've begun questioning if this is really what I want to do with the rest of my life. Over the past year or so, that beginning of the year and end of the year doubt (just due to the crazy amount of stress and heavy workloads during those times) has turned into an almost everyday doubt. It's not because my passion has changed. It's not because I don't still love teaching...I do.  I don't question the fact that this is what I'm MEANT to do....I question whether or not this is what I WANT to do.

I am a good teacher...I am certainly not one of the best...There are many out there that put me to shame on a regular basis in so many ways.....but I am good at what I do.  I go into my class each day and give those babies everything I have. I work late. I always bring work home. Most of my daily time, energy, and attention goes into my job.....All this time I give to my job, is time that I take away from my husband, my own personal children, my family, and my friends, but I always considered it somewhat worth it because my job matters so much. I'm not just punching a time clock. I'm investing into the lives of children....their future....our future.

All this time, energy, and attention that I take from my family and give to my job, used to go into teaching, preparing for lessons, using quick assessments to alter my lessons, and so on.....Now this time and attention goes into endless amounts of paperwork (that is unnecessary & in no way betters me or my students), hours upon hours of collecting data, looking at data & typing up data-----all of which says what I could have explained in a few minutes because I work everyday with these kids.  I spend additional hours each week researching, planning, and looking for ways to improve instruction and better meet the needs of my students all to hear, "That's great. Can't we do these 10 other things along with that too?" No! We can't.  There are only so many hours a day that I have my babies (students), and only so many hours a day that I'm awake.

So, my real struggle today is, is it worth it? Do I continue to do what I feel called to do even though I feel frustrated, overworked, and underappreciated everyday? Do I continue to take time away from my own family and my own life to invest in something that is beating me down.

Unfortunately, I fear that things in education aren't going to change anytime soon.  Too many of those above me see mere numbers, while I still see mere children. When my babies walk into my room, I don't see a student that's a 2 on a state test and wonder how I can make them a 3, or hey, maybe even a 4! I see a baby who never has a snack. I see a baby that wears the same outfit 2-3 times a week. I see a baby whose parents just separated and their whole world has been turned upside down.  I see a baby who never really quite grasped phonics in the younger grades, but so desperately wants to be able to read. I see the kids on the verge of giving up already because everything is just so hard.

Typing this has been wonderfully cathartic for me.  I need the occasional reminder of why I do what I do. Amidst all the garbage that is deemed "important" by people outside of the classroom, I need to keep my eyes focused on what is truly important: my sweet babies----not their scores on 1 ridiculous test, but who they are as people.....that they know they are loved, they are smart, and they always have at least one person on their side, fighting for them, praying for them, and pushing them to be the best they can be.

Now that I've convinced myself not to start seeking out other careers (haha!), I need to figure out how to drown out all the "noise" that is thrown at me everyday, so I may keep my eyes on the true goal.

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