I barely write about teaching nowadays and to be honest, I hate it. Do I want to leave the field? No but right now I’m just pushing through and just trying to make it to the end of the school year. On teacherTok (teacher content on TikTok) there are plenty of videos of teachers talking about how hard the school year is, how exhausting it is, how scary and a lot of teachers are leaving the field. Granted, we’ve been experiencing a teaching shortage for a good minute but things are just worst. Check out this article and this one (my district) you can see how we’re dealing.
COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon (at the time of me writing this, Florida reported 39,000 new cases from Christmas weekend). Other states will be returning to virtual learning for a few days when they return from break, however, I doubt that will be the case here. I mean at least if you’re vaccinated, it seems like if you catch it it won’t really be bad plus the CDC just issued new guidelines for being in quarantine. Now let me make this clear, everybody has to make his or her own choice when it comes to getting the vaccine and it should be a personal choice not something mandated but as for me? I chose to get vaccinated.
Some kids haven’t been to school in about two years so this is the first time they get to see their friends and get back in the swing of things. This is not a normal school year as much as the government wants it to be. It shouldn’t be business as usual. They’re still learning how to behave in public. Also, like I said, we’re still in a pandemic so there’s that as well. They haven’t had the best examples for how to behave and treat each other. I mean, look on social media about people getting in fights over masks or Karens or people getting upset over politics and physical fights everywhere, it’s no wonder these kids don’t have good examples. And speaking of social media, the silly TikTok challenges that can have them end up having charges pressed on them like the destroy school property challenge and the slap a teacher challenge.
We teachers don’t get much support in or out of the classroom and for admin to advocate self-care yet pile on more things we have to do while not supporting us when students or parents threaten us and just laughable. Again, I don’t want to leave the field. I have goals that I really want to reach and I just have to get through this school year and survive. I’m on permanent survival mode from now on.
Anyway, at the time I’m writing this I’m home in Miami visiting during our winter break. I’m not ready to return. I have to finish out the school year at this school and it is a true struggle. The school was already known for having a lot of fights but the kids are just…out of control. There’s lots of lockdowns due to gun threats (on top of the ones for fighting), kids curse out teachers who tell them to make better choices with their behavior, they walk in and out of the classroom. I have meetings 3 times a week during my planning period when I should spend that time grading. Plus since my school has a lot of low students (I’ve inherited a class with 7% proficiency), it is hella micromanaged with people who provide us with lesson plans and who do surprise walk-throughs. Trying to get students to just sit down is difficult and add on micromanaging authority with offices at the school does not make a pleasant working or learning environment.
I didn’t have access to the work, don’t have a key and mainly just keep to myself. I’m not much of a talker anyway but I’m in a mental fog lots of the time and dealing with financial and mental struggles. It’s been a rough year so far and every day it’s like I have to just put one foot in front of the other. I’m not in therapy at the moment and don’t plan on going back until mid January (so like around now at the time of this release). I haven’t made friends with any of the other teachers yet. Part of it is because of my attitude (a lot are dressed like they’re going to the club with long hair down to their butt and long nails) and for the simple fact that I’m shy. This school year is a huge challenge for me because it’s forcing me to work in an environment I’m not comfortable in and with kids I’m not comfortable with.
The last day of school before break was the worst. I’ve reached my limit and snapped. The kids wouldn’t listen to me. They refused to do their work. Now its the day right before break so I didn’t really expect them to actually get work done but all I asked for them was for them to not be too loud and use headphones if they were going to use their phones (they act like not having the no phones rules is a suggestion) and to work. I wasn’t going to yell or nothing because I know how it feels to have to be in school right before break. I never yell at them in general and I usually focus on the 2-4 kids in all the classes who do the work but this day I had it.
They were screaming, running around, bothering the computer monitor, going in the teacher desk so much so that I had to just stay over there and they would not stop cursing and catching and catching an attitude with me. Someone threw a muffin at me and another student said something about my mom (which if you don’t know, she’s dead). I snapped. I called a class something mean that I will not repeat. When the words left my mouth I was shaking and I felt like crying. That had to be my lowest moment so far in my teaching career. I called those black students (from the hood mind you) something that wasn’t nice.
If you don’t know what the big deal is, words can hurt people. There’s power in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21a). What I said to them will forever stay with them. For the most part, students never forget what teachers say to them and for me, a black woman at that, to call them something that was mean was damaging to them. To know that a teacher thinks so little of them and so low of them. I am ashamed. I’m filled with deep regret and my actions weren’t called for. Bottling up my feelings and keeping everything in has been damaging to me. I’m pretty sure when I get back I’m going to receive a lot of angry emails from parents, which is another reason why I’m not excited about.
If you see a teacher or personally know one, give them a hug or just some understanding. It’s really hard out there for us.