The 2002-2003 school year was my first year as a classroom teacher. I taught 6th grade English in an urban school and it was one tough year. I came home many days with a horrible headache and just cried.
The 2010-2011 school year was hopefully my last year as a classroom teacher. Today is the first day since 2002 where I haven't had a first day of school.
Let me just say it feels great.
I was run down and burnt out. I left most days right at 3.... right when the kids left. I didn't do any work at home. I had lost my passion for teaching. I had given all I had to give to the school I was at and I was just done. I was done way before I resigned... which is terrible...and it is not something I am proud of.
Working at my school had moved far from being children based. I was sick of teaching to the test. I was sick of not being backed up with behavior issues. I was sick of a lack of parental support. I was sick of rudeness from both students and parents. I was sick of having kids sit in my class who I couldn't get to pass a test... no matter how hard I once tried. Because really... if that child is reading on 3rd grade reading level... they probably aren't going to pass my 6th grade test. I was sick of the dog and pony show when we had a bunch of kids who couldn't read and write... and an administration who didn't care about children... she just wanted things to look great and the kids to pass a test. Who cares if you don't really have relationships with your students? Can they pass the test?
I got burnt out because I missed what teaching once was to me. I missed designing fun and meaningful lessons. I missed a time when everything did not have to be multiple choice. I missed my relationships with my students and their families.
Maybe one day I will return to teaching... hopefully in a school system that values students, families, and teachers.