This is a Hard Job

This post isn’t about an amazing classroom breakthrough or outpouring of positivity, as many of my posts in the past have been.  This post is about my current reality as a grade 8 teacher in a very dynamic and challenging class.

This teaching thing is a hard job.  I have been pulling nine hour days in the school at least four days a week and I’m bringing several hours worth of work home with me every single night.  My husband and I live in the same house, but we have rarely spent time together lately.  In the past three weeks I’ve managed to get out on only two runs.  Lately, we have eaten Kraft Dinner and toast/cereal for dinner more times than I’d care to admit too.  On top of all this, my class continues to be the most epic roller coaster of a class I’ve ever encountered (and I’ve seen a lot of classes from subbing experience!) One day we have an absolutely amazing day together and the next day is downright terrible.  I feel like I don’t know what to expect and when to except it.  I’m exhausted.  My recess and lunches are taken up by both impromptu and scheduled meetings and science study groups, as I try to help my most vulnerable students out.  I’m giving and giving and giving to my class…and not getting a lot back right now in any way, shape or form.  It’s draining.  On top of ALL this, I’m still not caught up…not even close.  Forgive me for being a downer tonight, but we try our best to keep it real on this blog, and this is my honest reality right now.

I’ve decided that I need to focus on the good moments in order to get by.  I’ve taken to the habit of writing down the good moments of the day at the bottom of my day book pages…I know it’s a small act, but it’s essentially one of the only fragments of positivity that’s keeping me going right now.  Sometimes our “good moments” are really tiny victories (like walking silently down the stair well) and other times we have really good entire blocks (our blocks are 40 minutes long), like yesterday.  Yesterday I showed this video:

My class watched this 7 minute video in absolute silence.  The conversation that followed the viewing of this video astounded me!  We discussed homelessness and poverty in such an engaged manner that I forgot all the troubles we’ve been having this week and just let the awesomeness soak in.  My students were so keen to share their experiences of interactions with people who are homeless.  One student shared how he and his younger brother passed a man who was making a shelter on the street.  The man told my student and his brother that he was cold and my student went home, got an old blanket, and brought it to the man on the street.  Various other stories of a similar nature started to make their way out and before we knew it, we had spent the entire block discussing a serious social issue.  I was very proud of my class after that block because they demonstrated extreme maturity and respect for the duration of the block.

This is all I’ve got for tonight.  I have a stellar support team who tell me every single say that I’m doing a good job.  I think I believe them, but, my goodness, is this job ever hard.  So, so hard. Chins up, fellow teachers.


8 thoughts on “This is a Hard Job

  1. Teaching is perhaps one of the most humbling professions one could engage in. Some days high; some days low. Reflection makes great educators and you certainly are one Karley. Daily gratitude is key as it helps you keep perspective. Enjoy and celebrate what’s right- Appreciative Inquiry has always kept me focused.
    TGIF gf- it’s a new day!!

  2. I was just telling someone about my “Don’t quit teaching just yet” email file. I think every teacher should have his or her own version of this. Sure, we remember the big highs (some of them), but it is incredibly gratifying and reassuring to go back from time to time to read specific positive feedback. There are some jobs in which work, emotions, and one’s personal life can become incredibly entwined, and ours is one of them; however, life balance is one of your greatest strengths. I feel confident that you’ll find your equilibrium soon (relatively speaking!).

    • Thank you for always encouraging me, Karen. I seriously would be less sane if it wasn’t for you 😉 I need to create this folder you speak of. I know you’ve told me of it before, but I really need to actually make it. And thank you for reminding me that I’m good at the work-life balance thing. I usually am…just not during the past month :p

  3. WOW……don’t forget your husband needs you to!!!!! Unfortunately I can’t open the video for some reason but what came to mind is that your class may need a strong message like this regarding anything serious to actually focus, engage, and be present in the moment. What do ya think? Hope you have a better day tomorrow! Love ya more Mom

    Date: Fri, 15 Nov 2013 03:51:52 +0000 To:

  4. Great that you are sharing your ups and downs, to show your true grit and strength, I always remember my tears and sorrow when coaching just didn’t go the way I had hoped,. Its great to work at goals, expectations and our hopes, but often when you are surrounded by young people in their difficult years…I expect nothing and celebrate every little thing they give. Those are what you will remember the most as your career goes on. Lots of love, come visit anytime

    • Thank you for your wise insight, Barb. I miss you! I was just talking with a teacher friend today about celebrating kids’ successes rather than letting the “tough stuff” get to you. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

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