Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How do I stay balanced?

Fair and balanced. Sounds so easy. The dilemma? My credential program is projecting this utopian society they want us, as teachers, to create in the classroom. They want us to believe we are going to change the world as future teachers. We will eradicate racism, teach all students, have high expectations, and be able to get every child to be successful. However, the reality of trying to achieve this in today's diverse classroom, filled with students with special needs and students who are English language learners is quite a different story. Our classrooms are stuffed to the gills with incredibly high numbers. It's hard not to get frustrated with the teaching credential program. I wish they would focus on practical issues, such as classroom management.

On the other hand, many teachers at my site seem exhausted, cynical, and pessimistic about their jobs. They have low expectations for their students and seem to have lost a lot of the joy I'm sure they had when they first started. With all the bureaucracy and politics in education, it's hard not to be overwhelmed with frustration and simply want to throw in the towel. No wonder nearly half of teachers quit the profession within 5 years. The question do I prevent this fate for me? I love teaching! I don't want to lose my spark.

I think the trick is to stay balanced. I need to focus on the kids and my classes and put up thick boundaries when it comes to everything else. My master teacher told me to aim for reaching "most of the kids, most of the time." That seems doable. I may not be able to change the world, but I might be able to influence a few kids for the better. What more could I ask for? Nothing is more rewarding than that.

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