Why am I a teacher? Should I continue?

  • PaMedic

    Posts: 65

    Aug 11, 2009 1:20 AM GMT
    What About the Children?

    Now that the summer is coming to an end and I am ready to return to my classroom for another year. I have been looking back over my 27 years of teaching and wonder why I keep doing my job. I hope that some of you understand how I feel and maybe have some answers to help

    In all to common and unfortunate story is children who play the role of pseudo adult to their parents. This involves parents who abuse alcohol and/or other drugs. Other times the parents are mentally ill. Pseudo adult children also exit in families with less dramatic dysfunction.

    The child is one who assumes responsibilities that are inappropriate and beyond his/her capacity to effectively execute. The child is raising the parent.

    A child looks for his drunken daddy or mommy in an alleyway, or tries to make peace between the bickering parents. It's the girl who feels responsible for her mother's depression, and the boy who skips baseball to keep his lonely mother company. It's all the children who try in vain to put Humpty-Dumpty families back together again.

    These children are missing out on a childhood. Some also miss out on having an adulthood. The sad part of this is as I have children of the children I had when I started teaching I see this being passed down and all through their lives. These people never stop seeing themselves as little boys and girls that must make and keep mommy and daddy happy or they suffer.

    When I look at my students that are doing this for their parents and I look at my being a closet gay teacher because those are the same people that feel gays have no place around or teaching their children, but I am the stable caring person in these children's life. I am the adult that the parent is not being. I am the one making sure that the child eats in the mornings before I start teaching him/her, I am the adult that is in the Goodwill store buying clothes for students that have none or clothes that don't fit because the money was used for drugs or alcohol. I am the person working with the child to give him/ her an education so he can pass a stupid test so the district does not put us on the "No Child Left Behind List". Who is the bad guy here? I am, the gay teacher that spends more money, time, and caring about the child that spends his/her time being the child-parent for their parents. I am the one that is queer? I know if I was out I would not be able to help these students so I guess it is best for me to keep that closet door closed so maybe I can help a child see there is a better life out there and help them work for it.

    I would not give up my position as a teacher and working with these kids for the world. I do not ask for praise, extra money, or even a thank you. I stick with it for is those students that write me after they are out of high school and college and say I am now a teacher, doctor, secretary, etc. and tell me I cared and they remember.

    One of my favorite stories is of a child who wrote and said " I hated you when you had me in school. You made to work so hard and you made me learn even when I did not feel like working because other things was on my mind." "You cared and had faith in me when my parents left for a week and I was the parent over my two brothers at age 13." I am now a RN working in a big hospital in Maryland and I want to say thank you." This closet gay teacher in his little backward hometown made a difference in a life, really many lives, but I am the queer person. I am one very proud queer!!!

    If anyone knows how I can give a child back their childhood, dissolve these tests mandated for No Child Left Behind, and teach children that people care and they can do anything they dream, I need your help. PLEASE before we loose another child.

    Well, if you read this all the way through you know now why I say this is not a normal blogs. But I needed to vent to somebody and you are an extended part of my family. Thank you for listening and I really would like to hear any answers you may have.

    Hugs!

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Aug 11, 2009 1:53 AM GMT
    Well as one of your best friends... I know you aren't just a good teacher, your an example. And I know some of the challenges you've had in the past year.

    But if I had you... I would have made your life a challenge..

    LOL jk icon_biggrin.gif

    Had to lighten it a little bit icon_smile.gif
  • baldone

    Posts: 826

    Aug 11, 2009 1:54 AM GMT
    the kids...that is why you do it...for what ever small or large difference yo make in their lives and however you may impact their lives, you do it for the kids...thats why you studied to be a teacher in the first place.....because so many kids today need to constant calm steady influence in their lives that they may not recognize right now but someday they will come back and say thank you.....for the difference you made
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 11, 2009 2:35 AM GMT
    You cannot change your students' pasts, but you can help prepare them for their future.

    It seems you already know, after 27 years, why you keep at it with your job.

    Best wishes!
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    Aug 11, 2009 7:28 AM GMT
    I'd like to think that people like you, will inspire people like me who are studying to become teachers, to continue to want to make a difference in this not so perfect world.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 11, 2009 8:48 AM GMT
    The country needs more educators that feel the way you do about your job.
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    Aug 11, 2009 9:10 AM GMT
    I'm a teacher myself, and I 'm quite shocked about the things you say happening in your school. We do not have these major problems over here..
    However, it looks like you are a very responsible teacher who loves his job, and this is very important. A few teachers really love what they do, and for this reason you should consider yourself as a succesful teacher, even though sometimes you cannot find solutions to all these problems. You cannot change society, don't you trhink? But I'm sure you can make an impact in their lives because you care about these children, and you should be proud about yourself! I'm sure they are proud themselves for having you as a teacher!

    Keep up the good work!
    (and sorry for my bad english icon_smile.gif )
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    Aug 11, 2009 2:40 PM GMT

    PaMedic, I love you! ( and lol yes Bill's right here.)

    I write children's stories, sometimes for troubled teens - there's one on our profile.


    You're a nice bird to be a feather of...


    -Doug of meninlove
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    Aug 11, 2009 2:43 PM GMT
    Good to know you've stuck with it given the circumstances.

    I work at a Title 1 school and I can empathize with your parent situation--many are drug users, abusers, and alcoholics.

    My mentor teacher (44 year veteran) discussed these very issues, and I think you've made the right decision to support those children--as I'm sure he would suggest as well.
  • shirty

    Posts: 290

    Aug 11, 2009 2:50 PM GMT
    Why do you teach? Because you just wrote several paragraphs about the things you selflessly do for your students every day. You hold that safe space for them. For all you know, you are the one person who is loving and kind to some of these kids.

    I teach yoga, but the principle is the same - you need to be present for the students and not think about yourself. You are just a support. You're one rung of a huge life-long ladder... to be used over and over. But you're passionate, and you love it.

    Kudos to you. You're inspiring!
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    Aug 11, 2009 4:09 PM GMT
    Thank you for making a difference in kids lives. I know teachers are rarely given the respect and credit they're due, constantly blamed and criticized for things beyond their control, and generally unappreciated for the vital role they play in society. I know, too, that it's hard seeing kids with all these immense problems and lives so much more complicated than any child's ever should be . But I'm sure glad to know there are people like you doing their part for those kids who, otherwise, would have been forgotten. I can't imagine the pressure you go through trying to do all you do and having to be a closeted gay on top of that. All I can say is WOW! Kudos to you and thank you for the work you do. It does not go unappreciated.
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    Aug 11, 2009 4:27 PM GMT
    Having just completed my master's in education and all of my classroom training, I'm clearly now frustrated with our public school system. First, teachers need more unity among each other. Where I was working there was a great amount of bickering, and most of it was no different than office gossip. Second, administrators and their offices are failing to do their part. Most administrators don't support their teachers and bow down to the parents or the over all school board. Finally, parents need to get with the program. Some parents need to realize that school is not day care. When something happens that you child doesn't think is right, it is not an excuse to come in and demand people be fired or try and get the rules changed. If a parent does not like how the rules are written, then go to the school board meetings and state your case, or you can send you kid to private school.

    Parents need to become involved for the right reasons.

    No Child Left Behind may have seen over all test scores increase, but that is because many schools have adapted to teach to the test. In some cases the curriculum is now written by big companies (Kaplan, ETS), who then large amounts for the textbooks and the standardized tests. So now, teachers are in a great struggle to keep the lessons as authentic as possible while making sure the students are able to pass a test.

    I'm of course speaking from experience at the high school level.
  • PaMedic

    Posts: 65

    Aug 12, 2009 1:01 AM GMT
    Thank you all for your wonderful comments. It was great to be able to write my feelings to share with you all. Another year will be starting in about 3 weeks. The room is just about ready and soon I will know what students I will be molding this year.

    I look forward to getting to know my new group I do not look forward to another year of red tape, administration thinking they know what is right for the student and state and federal testing. Guess it is all in the game plan, we keep fighting for the kids and hope the rest goes away, I really can dream.

    Thank you! You are a great family. Would you like to adopt some of my students??? Please!
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    Aug 12, 2009 6:15 AM GMT
    My school just started yesterday. I moved from Atlanta to Austin. I decided to take a year off from teaching for the very things that you were talking about. I was frustrated and getting to where I resented parents for the mistakes they were making with their children.

    I commend you for all that you are doing for the kids. It is hard, and I can understand your venting. I have been there. Just think about the good that you do, and realize that like Mediterraneo said, you can't change society.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Aug 12, 2009 3:09 PM GMT
    muchmorethanmuscle said

    To PaMedic. You're taking on way too much responsibility. You're overloading yourself with too much and it's becoming a burden.
    .



    I've been telling him that for almost 2 years...... and he has lots more responsibilities than he's telling you in his thread... its ridiculous.
  • twostroke

    Posts: 184

    Aug 12, 2009 3:47 PM GMT
    I think working with children is a special gift. Not everyone is made to do that. It requires a lot of patience, skill, and nerves of steel.

    Working with children confronts you with all levels of adult society. Often they are the key to realizing how unjust and even cruel society can be which can be very infuriating and frustating.

    But working with them (and many others) is also a chance to improve things. It is very hard work with the effects of it, maybe, only visible after many years. For it is them, the children, who will be the future.

    PaMed you are not alone, don´t despair.

    A SPECIAL GREETING TO ALL THOSE WORKING WITH CHILDREN
    (i´m a kid´s doc)
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    Aug 12, 2009 4:01 PM GMT
    I am a high school history teacher and have been teaching for 6 years. I love teaching and having the summer off, but I am feeling burnt out. While I do like what I do, I wouldn't mind a change in career--or even a break for a year.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Aug 12, 2009 5:09 PM GMT
    jprichva saidI taught 8th grade English from 1980-83.




    I could have had Jeff for 8th grade English Class... LOL
    icon_biggrin.gif

    That would have been fun.. and I would have wanted an "A" in the class
    (actually I did get A's in 8th grade english class)....
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 12, 2009 5:14 PM GMT
    Please continue to be a teacher! I wish more teachers were like you. They have made all the difference in my life.
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    Aug 12, 2009 5:17 PM GMT
    I don't know the OP, but can tell from his post that you are obviously passionate about what you do and likely very good at it.

    I think everyone goes through phases in their career/role where they question why they are doing what they are doing. I do that often and have to remind myself of the reasons often - above and beyond the money.

    Personally, I think it is a good exercise to go through, as it can help to keep you focused on what and how you are executing your role.

    I can't imagine being a teacher to kids with all the restrictions and issues that come into the school system. A few years back, one of my clients was a public school district and I had to work with many of the teachers and leadership in training and process improvement.

    After that experience, I can honestly say it has to be one of the most demanding professions all the way around - physically, mentally, intellectually and emotionally. People sometimes tease teachers about 'having the summer off'. IMO - you need much more than a summer off to recoupe from what you have to endure on a daily basis.

    Given that the profession is one of the most important to our society (where would we be if we weren't educated as a society) and one of the most demanding, I think teachers are grossly underpaid....that is a whole other topic in itself.

    My hat off to you, I have a lot of admiration for what you do, and hope you find the next wave of motivation for the sake of our next generation.

    Best of luck!
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    Aug 12, 2009 5:54 PM GMT
    Teachers/professors are a guiding light of inspirtation to people who come from sad and or disfunctional homes. I was the student who took refuge in my education in college because it helped me escape from where I was and lead me into the direction of where I wanted to be.
    At times I am sure as with any profession there are those days when you just want to say "I'm done", but on those days remember you may be the only beacon of light at the end of a dark tunnel and in the end you will be appreciated for it.

    Our teachers should be praised for what they can do for us. I was very fortunate to have some great inspirations. icon_smile.gif
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    Aug 12, 2009 6:01 PM GMT
    My sister is a teacher, and she specialty is dealing with kids with learning or physical disabilities.

    As with most teachers, she went into it because she wanted to help children. Unfortunately, she didn't like the system (institution) that she had to work within, plus ignorant parents sometimes could be the biggest obstacle to the child's well being.

    So she quit her job and found one that still is in her field, but with a company that was more private and focused more good energy on the kids.
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    Aug 12, 2009 6:19 PM GMT
    I am an educator as well, but in the corporate world, so I know what it's like to experience frustration

    I tend to look at teaching as being a lifeboat that can only hold so many people, far fewer than needed. At the end of the day, the worst thing you could possible do to yourself and to the kids you teach would be to give in to the temptation to be frustrated by the kids you couldn't save or the lives you couldn't fix. That's way too big of a burden for one person to take on. Instead, focus on the lives you ARE able to change and the students you DO get through to, because in the long span of their lives, your positive impact on them will have a ripple effect via the good works and good will that they bestow on others as you have bestowed on them, as you've already been fortunate enough to learn.

    Thank you for sharing your post and providing inspiration.
  • PaMedic

    Posts: 65

    Aug 13, 2009 2:27 AM GMT
    HndsmKansan said
    muchmorethanmuscle said

    To PaMedic. You're taking on way too much responsibility. You're overloading yourself with too much and it's becoming a burden.
    .



    I've been telling him that for almost 2 years...... and he has lots more responsibilities than he's telling you in his thread... its ridiculous.


    You have been telling me this for two years, but you also know me. I cannot be idol. Who needs sleep and me time icon_question.gificon_cry.gif
  • dh__

    Posts: 143

    Aug 13, 2009 2:47 AM GMT
    jarielbeef saidI'd like to think that people like you, will inspire people like me who are studying to become teachers, to continue to want to make a difference in this not so perfect world.


    couldn't put it better.
    The world is what it is, and for the most part we can't see the changes we have in it. but if you take the moment realize every person you come in contact with, the simple smile of comfort and encouragement have an amazing and everlasting effect which very much change the world in small ways enough to make a vast difference in the lives of everyone around you and around those who come in contact with you.
    you already see with that student you effected so greatly. the world doesn't always see the heroes it has walking around. it's doesn't know the pains they go through and all the things they deal with. but it's because of those heroes, people like you, that remind us of the good things worth fighting for
    i hope you don't give up