Prepare for Discouragement?
This response to our survey asking what tasks can be done during summer to prepare for the new school year touched and saddened me. I wonder how often real talent and dedication are lost to discouragement. Kathleen-Editor
I have a real problem with this question. I spend literally 60-80 hours a week working to do the best job I possibly can. My district couldn't care less. My administrator doesn't even know if I know what I'm doing, whether I'm great, okay, or awful.
I never know from year to year what or where I will teach. Yet I spend 3-4 hours per day in the classroom getting ready each summer. (The custodians hate me because they think I'm there to snoop on them and because I ask them to let me into the office to use the bathroom.) I spend another 10-20 hours per week during the summer reading educational materials at home or going to classes or organizing my materials.
I have spent, according to my husband who manages our finances, approximately $3,000 a year on books, materials, classes, computers, etc. I have enough units to have two PhDs, speak some Spanish, have three credentials (all by NTE), graduated from one of our country's most prestigious universities, have other credentials that 90% of the teachers in my district do not have and which they refuse to get, etc.
This year I stand to be removed from what I love doing to a position that will be "only a job." I may be moved to another site. I have no idea what I'll be teaching. What will I do to prepare? I had planned on taking a course on writing books with primary children (one of my loves), laying out a general overview of the year's lesson plans, making more math games, adding to my yearly theme resources, organizing my cabinets, preparing writing journals, taking a week-long course on the new reading program we adopted, reading several of the great books on current thinking about how to teach comprehension, researching how to correlate state standards to all of my lesson plans, etc.
But now, not knowing if I'll ever use again the hours I have spent learning to teach young children to read and write, I have decided to give up. I'm going to read for my own pleasure, find myself again, dote on my husband who believes that I care more for teaching than him. I can't in good conscience tell a new teacher how to prepare without first telling her or him the truth.
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