I have been attending our district's Lit Camp. It is a wonderful mingling of literacy loving minds. We are teacher of all grades and levels. I love this group. I never feel like ti was a waste of time and they are always pouring something fresh and new into my brain and classroom.
So tonight, at our training they asked us to read this article by Penny Kittle. It addressed the time constraints and demands of teaching. The average hours a teacher puts in for our typical 10 month year is 2280 hours. The typical work year for 40 hour week jobs is 2080. Explains a lot about why we feel exhausted most of the time. We were asked to respond to the article. Below is what I wrote with tears streaming down my face.
It's too much. I am drowning. I grade and I plan and I grade some more. The copier is broken and my project overheats. I had six questions I wrote for my lesson today and I only made to to one of them. The loose insulation that floats in the air of the building is giving me the illusion of state fair cotton candy, but has broken my neck out in hives. I want to do more, be more, for my students and my family. Switching from my familiar and beloved science has caused tremendous growing pains. Thanksgiving break is 3 weeks away; Christmas is 4 weeks after that. Have I covered all of the material? Did I follow all the IEP's and 504 plans? Is my RTI documentation done? I love teaching but there are times I think it might kill me.
Then I think of the kid I had last year that hugged me today and squeezed me so tightly I caught my breath. I saw a dyslexic kid with a speech impediment recite 20 lines from a play today with confidence. I watched a boy show his work on a difficult assessment. I watched a girl successfully find a word in the dictionary. Those are the moments we live for as teachers. They keep us going when we fill crushed by the responsibility.
Be ready children. Tomorrow I will hug you and teach you. Tomorrow you will learn and so will I.