A burn-out story 

How does one continue in a career when the passion is gone? How does one regain the love that once existed for a very important job? 

I am a teacher. I have been in the profession for 25 years and while I have had bad days, weeks or even months in this profession,  I  can not say that I  have felt so “done” and so ineffective in the classroom. When I  started out, I  had a plan. I had planned to stay in the class for at least 15 years and be ready for an education -related job for the last 10 so that I  would never be one of those teachers who should not be teaching.  I started my plan by working on my Master’s degree  in administration.  I started, and a year in, a job opened up at the high school level that I  figured would help. In order to stay, I switched  my master’s  to Secondary English Education with plans for a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. Life happened, a divorce happened and my plan began to fall apart. I continued  to enjoy the class and decided  that it must be my calling to be in the classroom until retirement.

Life, again, happened. I found the person who would teach me what it was to live life. I remarried and I  was indescribably  happy. Even with that, I  had a year with 4 preps, difficult students and large classes. My burn-out began. Even though at the end of that year, I was exhausted and questioning  my effectiveness  in the classroom,  I returned the following school year  with a wonderful schedule and smaller classes. My hope had been restored. Unfortunately, that lasted until October when my husband of only 3 1/2 years was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma,  a rapid, devastating  cancer of the bile duct. I was in and out of classes all year. I was blessed with support from the superintendent who made it possible for me to be out when I needed it.By June, my husband  was gone. My life fell apart and things have not been the same. 

I returned to work in late July to 3 preps, larger classes and a class I had not taught in a while and had been redesigned since. Everyone kept telling get me that going back to work would be good for me. They were terribly  wrong. I  could not concentrate,  I  could not handle deadlines, I  couldn’t handle the students and I was horribly ineffective.  Again, the superintendent stepped in and sent me to a counselor. The counselor determined that if I was to make it, I  would need an additional  planning period. This was arranged for me but not without backlash.I was asked “can’t you just stay after school and get things done ?” and “Do you think this will really help?” I was mortified. I had to call the counselor to talk me down. I wanted to walk out. 

Fast forward a few months and things were so much better. I was able to handle things better, but I was still losing my passion. I was and still am, just going through the motions, showing up, completing tasks and doing it all over again the next day. Also, there are those who are saying ” it’s been long enough, what’s her problem?” As the weeks pass, I have found I no longer care. I don’t know the problem; I do know that the passion I had for teaching is gone. Completely  depleted. While I  have always been able to find my way back, I can’t this time. Now, with a 25-year investment in my career, I  need a different direction.  However, again, I  don’t know what to do. Personally,  things are much better, but professionally, I stand at the proverbial fork in the road. 

Need input to find a road to success in educational blogging

I’m hoping to get some feedback on this one. I am a high school English teacher. I have taught for 24 years in elementary , middle and high school. I have read many different types of blogs, and I notice that the blogs that receive the most attention are the ones that offers helpful information. With that being said. I would like to know, from blog readers, what type of education blogs would you most likely read ? or what do you see as a need in the area of educational blogs?

Thank you in advance for your input!

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Semester Two

As the new calendar year begins, another semester continues the school year. This is always a good time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t with my students during the first semester. Each school year brings a new set of students and each class has its own personality. It is import to keep these nuances in mind and be prepared to adjust plans to fit the personality of the classes and students.

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Sometimes I do.. And sometimes I don’t

So today, oh man TODAY was one of “those days.” You know the days . The ones that no matter how hard you try all you hear are crickets echoing in the classroom. Teaching is hard! Don’t let anyone tell you any differently. If you care about students and you care whether they learn… It’s VERY hard. But there are a few things to keep in mind and a few things that keep me going:
1. Every day can’t be a banner day.
2 . No matter how much I wish I could, I cannot reach all 175 of my darlings that grace the desks in my classroom.
3. I am NOT super teacher.
4. I am not an Oscar- wining actress who can wow the stage called the classroom at all times .

With that being said , there are those things that I CAN do:
1. I can TRY!
2. I will NOT give up.
3. I can continually look for ways to improve my content and delivery.
4. I can smile and know that there are those days when the students DO get it and I am very entertaining and I may feel like Super teacher because there was learning… Not memorizing , but true , meaningful learning going on in my room.

Those moments make my “horrible , terrible , no good day” days worth the effort ! Keep pushing forward my fellow teachers ! Spring break is on its way!

Pictures are from the work my students did on F451 by Ray Bradbury . A good day ūüôā

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It’s the small victories that count

In my 23+ years of teaching, this year ranks high in the “most challenging” category. I have found myself completely frustrated numerous occasions, rethinking my career choice and mapping my possible path out of the classroom. Because I have four different preps and teaching all levels of classes, I have convinced myself that I am a complete failure.

This past week, however, was an eye-opener! I had an epiphany!! As I continued my struggle, there were a few essays that were we’re better than normal, a few test grades that were passing,and a few responses during our Socratic circle that just blew me away! As Friday approached,I realized, that these small victories are what gives us “fuel” and the reason why we, as educators, do what we do. I struggle with “success with every student”, but in this battle, I will take the small victories!

How about it fellow teachers….am I alone in this war? I’d love some feedback.

Teaching: Not just a job

As my heading states, teaching is not just a job, it’s a way of life. This has been proven again and again whenever dangerous situations stare them in the face and yesterday was no exception. In the Atlanta area and in Alabama, teachers “hunkered down” for the night with students due to the situation caused by inclement weather. It amazes me just how much is always expected of us on a day to day basis, and then, when the going gets tough, teachers stand tall and do what has to be done for the safety and well- being of their students. My hat’s off to these educators who stepped up once again in the face of adversity and showed the world the compassion and class ( pun intended) that we teachers possess!

Has the overuse of cooperative learning led to students that cannot think on their own?

During my time in college over 20 years ago, the new pedagogical key to student learning was cooperative learning. This fantastic new idea allowed for the free exchange of ideas, critical thinking and guaranteed student engagement. Fast forward over 20 years and now we have students who will not think on their own . These students, whom I see in their sophomore and junior years in high school, are so used to being allowed to discuss everything that they refuse to read or think independently.

Don’t get me wrong. I see the benefits in cooperative learning and I do use this practice at times in my own classroom. However, I believe that the practice has been so overused and incorrectly implemented that we have created a generation of ultra- dependent students. What’s wrong with the general idea of ” everything in moderation”, even in the classroom?