Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I feel scared right now. I don't like to feel this way.  It's not panic, but a building, billowing feeling that things are going out of control and there is nothing I can do but hold on and hope I don't get blown out of the back of a speeding train. I do not like this one bit.

At work I feel as though we are all on a motorboat with nobody really at the controls.  The guy holding the rudder is arguing coordinates with the janitor and the guy with the nautical maps is bailing the holes that have sprung in the bottom of the skiff.  I've got my eyes on the horizon, yelling that we are at land-ho and nobody wants to acknowledge what my eyes see and what impeding doom will likely hit us if we do not alter our course.  Down in the hold is the future of my kids, all baled up and ready to drown at the bottom of the deep blue sea.  It frightens me.  I love my students, who are more or less resigned to going with me on the curriculum idea. Some actually enjoy class.  I love that we've begun conversations about code-switching and Standard English versus common language.  They are not the problem.  I am also lucky to have two classes with only 20 students and two classes with 25 or fewer. Only one of my classes is at 27 right now.

Seriously, I've got that part. It is the trivialities of the matter- access to email, technology for my classroom that every student should have in junior high if they are to make it in the world and textbooks, yes, textbooks, which are currently sitting in the Library waiting to be inventoried- and administrators who are too new and unseasoned to be able to effectively help my department.  It's scary to have meetings about curriculum that nobody in the department has taught and to have someone attempt to stand over me and raise their voice as though I were a naughty child to be chastised.  It's not fair to then to have to be the one to calm the frazzled nerves of the other teachers and help my administrator to become a better communicator.  Let's add a little resentment to that mix, in with the fear and lack of information. Just because I am not being treated as a professional doesn't mean that I can behave as though I am not. On top of all of that, the air conditioning went out in our 100 year old building for two days but I was still expected to teach well.  My poor students. They deserve better.

I am scared and pretty soon will start rebelling, as is natural.  I may develop an eye problem from time to time and won't be able to see going in to work.

If this is the way our public educational system works, then we should scrap it and start all over again. If I am this ineffective as a teacher and negotiator with others in the system, I should not be an educator, a teacher or other person involved in a bureaucracy.  What scares me most is that the things that scare me have nothing to do with teaching and everything to do with "things" and people that really do not matter.

I'm sure that this will look better in the morning but for now, I've just got to go to bed.


  1. All I know is...I believe in you and know you made a difference. After some rest and time, you'll see if this is the thing that can make your heart sing. If it doesn't, the job doesn't deserve you.

  2. I love you, Min. You ARE making a difference in those children's lives! Hang in there.

  3. Thanks. Things do look better in the morning. I just have to figure out how to deal with the administration.

  4. You're right to note that it's the *system* that's the problem. By "system," I mean the huge, unwieldy, underfunded, splintered juggernaut that is American K-12 education. No system that has to serve this many students, each with different backgrounds and needs, and has resorted since it began to a box-car educational mentality, can serve those students well.

    We need a U. S. constitutional amendment that requires education to be the largest line item in every federal and state budget. It would also be nice if the same amendment forbade educational policy being set by politicians; only educators should be allowed that privilege.

  5. I am completely on board with Daren's idea of a constitutional amendment. And I know you're making a difference in the lives of these kids!