I had a conversation with a teacher today that was very refreshing and revealing. It seems I’m not alone in feeling like I am giving up on some of my students. The last few years I have really just gotten tired around the first of May and there are some students who I just don’t want to deal with any more.
My liberal, help-the-world, brain feels incredibly guilty about this. And the advice given to me by my father-in-law when I went into education, “you can’t save them all,” seems to make more sense every day.
I wrestle with myself as I write my agenda for the next day – will Jimmy be able to understand and will he do his work with his group, or will I have to deal with his off task behaviors (again)? And will I just give up and let him be off task – as long as he isn’t disturbing anyone else?
This mental state is especially acute this year as I sit between jobs. I’m 90 (98?) % sure that I will not be back at Manor New Technology High School in the fall. The students feel that I’m 100% gone and they are yelling at me for not being there for them next year. With 10 school days left I am really getting, what we would call in the Navy, a short timer’s attitude. “I’m so short I can barely see over my shoe laces;” “I’m so short I need help getting up to each rung on the ladder,” etc..
I’m convinced that this happens more these days because of all of the standardized testing. (It’s NOT because I’m getting old!) Once the testing is done the teachers are tired and the students have decided that there isn’t anything else to work for. It is really bad for AP students who, literally, are finished with their classes and have taken their AP exams.
And so my wish for these last 10 days is additional energy. A little more positive attitude on my part would be nice as well. I have my students for 180 days. They deserve my attention for all of those days. I can rest in the 2 or 3 days between the end of the school year and the start of my new job that might, just maybe, be happening. Wish me luck.
If this new job happens I will be filling the pages of this blog with information from my experiences there. And, yes, it will be a PBL environment. Once you have taught with PBL you won’t ever go back to the regular classroom.