By Teachers, For Teachers
Lately it seems as if every time I turn around, someone (It doesn’t really matter who the someone is...although it always seems to be someone who has never taught before.) is pointing their finger at, blaming or ridiculing the work of teachers.
Today alone, I saw three different political commercials implying that not only are teachers to blame for America’s failing schools, but we are responsible for local budget issues and, oh yeah, it’s our fault that so many of our nation’s children are overweight.
So tomorrow, in addition to teaching reading, writing and ‘rithmatic, don’t forget to address hot button issues such as standardized test results, accountability, our current economic crisis and maybe put together a child-friendly work out plan. Just throw those on your old To Do List.
Does anyone else feel like they’re trapped in a giant Sally Struthers spoof? Like teachers are being asked to solve ALL our nation’s problems – poverty, illiteracy, gang violence, childhood obesity to name a few – while only being paid the price of a cup of coffee...
Wait a minute.
And yet we still need to slap a smile on our faces, get up at the crack of dawn and troop into our classrooms to do actual, meaningful work. Despite the pervasive Debbie Downer spirit which seems to be all the rage right now.
So how do we do it? How do we keep on keepin’ on?
Focus on our Students
Because, really? They are what matters. They are why we do this. And their progress is something we CAN and SHOULD take credit for. Take a moment. Look back at some of your data. (I know you’ve been collecting it in this era of accountability!) For a moment, forget about all the hours it took you to compile said data and take a look at your accomplishments. Yes, your kids did that. But they couldn’t do it without you.
Initiate a Class Project that Mirrors Your Passion
Plant a small herb garden with your class. Make a mural. Read your favorite childhood chapter book together. Do some yoga. SOMETHING. It’s the end of the year and I know you can squeeze in a few moments SOMEWHERE. These are all teachable moments. These are all valuable experiences. These can all save your sanity.
Plan Fun Times with Fellow Teachers
Fun Friday lunch? After work beverages? I mean, who else can better understand how distant that end-of-the-year light at the end of the tunnel feels? Who else can empathize over the latest student drama? Celebrate the latest student success? Sometimes, we just need a few cocktails, complaints and collegial laughs.
Yes, I am being a bit ridiculous with my characterization of the current climate surrounding education. Although, it’s starting to feel as if we want to make any sort of progress with the ho-jillion issues facing public schools, we need to look to the Kings and Queens of Multi-tasking – teachers. Until then, let’s do something for ourselves AND our little friends.
How do you stay sane when school gets crazy? Share in the comments section!