Stuff Second Graders Say

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 09 2013

Teaching Isn’t Fair

If you clicked on this blog because you were looking for another rant about how much teaching sucks, I’m sorry to disappoint. I think that teaching is the best job in the world. I think that anyone who thinks otherwise, should just not be a teacher. Seems like it should be that simple. I definitely do not think that teaching sucks, but I do think teaching is hard. Most days the word teacher can mean a bajillion different things depending on the day. Most days I act as, just to name a few, mother, father, police officer, nurse, counselor (to both children and parents), cheerleader, maid. Most days I come home physically and emotionally drained. Definitely happy but tired.

Today was especially hard because a student that I built a very strong relationship with left to go to a different school. She was probably, easily my biggest behavior problem, but also the one I felt the most strongly about. I described this day to my friends as feeling like someone was taking MY child away. This got me thinking about our job. Is that normal for me to feel like that? Am I supposed to get so emotionally attached? Probably not. The things that my kids are going through at home are not fair. This is not a movie. It is real and I don’t like it. I am doing way too much but I am never ever doing enough. I want to be able to do more. The very few times that I talk about this feeling with anyone close to me, popular responses include: “You can only do so much.” “You are making such a difference in those kids’ lives.” “You have to separate the emotional and the professional aspects.” “It’s your first year. Don’t worry this will wear off and when you get old like me, you will become immune to all of that.” What? I guess I understand all of these things but I don’t like any of the answers. I never feel like I am doing enough for these sweet kids that only deserve happiness and joy and the opportunity to just be a kid. And I really believe that in order to be a good teacher, you HAVE to become invested in these kids’ lives. Relationships are everything. If you don’t care, then what are you doing being a teacher? But it doesn’t seem like this is all that we can do. I want to do more but there is a line. A line that I have probably (read: definitely) crossed several times… Now I’m just rambling and should probably step down from my soapbox.

So, what is the answer? I wish I was ending this post with my brilliant proposal for a new way to change the world of teaching. But I have no idea. I know the textbook answers but those answers make me roll me eyes. I hope I never become “immune” to caring too much about my kids. That makes me feel like throwing up. If that ever happens, I hope someone tells me to retire. It’s not fair that the world seems to always work out for people like me, but not so much for people like my sweet kids. I don’t want anyone to tell me that I’m a saint. Bleh! I want someone to help me fix the whole world. Because the whole world is making me sad.

One Response

  1. Anonymous

    It is a very good thing you are a teacher Ms. Alford! Kids deserve teachers that care as much as you do :)

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