Expression Organizing Experience

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 04 2012

August 21st-October 3rd


I can hardly catch my breath.

How does any human accomplish all of the things that I’m expected to accomplish right now?

I have officially left the “honeymoon” phase; the kids are showing some dark sides, and mine is starting to come out.  I don’t know how many times I told myself before the school year started that I wouldn’t become the teacher who could not control her kids.  I’m getting my ass handed to me.  I almost wish I could start the year over, but that would mean I lose my only bit of accomplishment from these past 7 weeks–the fact that I am barely surviving.

I try keep reminding myself of the reasons why I joined.  I want to be an educator, I want to enrich lives…but do I want to do these things for an ultimately selfish reason?  I couldn’t stand working at a dead end job that had no… “nobility”… to it.  So I went for the extreme opposite.  I went for a job that gives any courageous individual the opportunity to touch and change lives.  But I’m not so sure I was ready for every single thing that comes with that.

Teaching is hard.  So very hard.  At least for me it is. You have to be passionate.  Otherwise, there is no way you can last.  My passion is starting to wane, only because I cannot carry on the way I have been for the past 7 weeks.  I cannot find a work-life balance.  I literally do not have a minute to myself.  I’m at school for 10 hours.  And when I get home, I am planning for 2 more hours.  Even my dreams are filled with my kids, my inadequacies, my mind’s recreations of tumultuous moments from the day.  My mind will not let me escape it.  This probably stems from my ‘highly ambitious’ and ‘relentless’ spirit.  But is that healthy? At the moment, I feel that I have lost my mental health.  My only saviors are my cats and my boyfriend; thankfully they are with me.  I could never do this alone.  And thankfully, I have wonderful friends and family who are always there for me over the phone.  But when it comes down to it, it’s just me.  I’m solely responsible for accomplishing what I have set out to do…and it’s not looking so good right now.

Some of them are so behind, so unmotivated, so uninvested, and so on the edge of breaking off like an eroded piece of land.  Then others are so passionate, so invested, so motivated, and so ahead.  I can’t meet the needs of any of them…I’m doing both extremes a disservice because I am barely able to handle the workload.  This leads to guilt, and then to anxiety…and then what?  I can only hope that I don’t break down in front of my classes.  But today has been such a taxing week…they’re testing me over and over and over again.

Nearly 50 percent of new teachers in urban districts leave teaching during the first three years.  I’m not making any rash decisions, but I can definitely understand that statistic.  Like I said, this is difficult (<–and that is an understatement).

I remember myself at this exact point last  year.  I desperately wanted to be part of the movement. I cried at the thought of not being accepted.  I scoured the internet for advice on blogs.  I still can’t believe I’m in.  So if you somehow come across this in urgent hope for some answers, I have a few pieces of advice:

Do not use this as a replacement for anything else.  If there is something else you’d rather do, and you just need to bide your time until you can go for that other thing, don’t apply. Don’t pretend you care.  No one will win if you end up seeing it through.

On a similar note, do not do this just because you do not know what else you will do.  This is not a way to soul search.

Realize that this is really difficult.  Surely, I am not someone who has had much challenge in life.  It is probably difficult for that very reason.  Still, just understand that it is the extreme opposite of a walk in the park.  It’s Tartarus.

But I will fight on.  One period at a time.

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