Tuesday, February 21, 2006

No Wonder I'm So Tired ...

From "Keeping New Teachers from Dropping Out," by Ellen Myers. She writes:

"Teaching has never been the cushy job imagined by the public, which mistakenly believes that a teacher’s day ends when school lets out. People outside the field often do not seem to understand that teachers spend hours of additional time making lesson plans, reviewing homework, grading tests.

...

"How can we expect people with minimal preparation to be successful in a profession that requires the skills of “parent surrogate, nurse, police officer, detective, psychologist, mediator, bathroom monitor, toilet paper dispenser, janitor, room decorator, quartermaster for school supplies, manager, organizer, lesson planner, cheerleader, lunchroom monitor, negotiator,” as one experienced teacher has put it.

"Teaching is all about relationships — the building of relationships between teacher and students. That’s why it is so hard. One elementary school teacher must have relationships with up to 35 very different individuals, each with diverse learning styles, needs, and levels of engagement. A high school teacher will typically teach 150 students.

"There is research on the extraordinary number of decisions that a teacher has to make at any given moment —- more decisions minute-by-minute than a brain surgeon. The most conservative estimate from this data has teachers making approximately 130 decisions per hour during a six-hour school day, and this reflects only those decisions made within the classroom. This is extraordinarily daunting and often intimidating for new teachers."

I know I sound like a broken record, but I have never worked so hard in my life as I have as a teacher this year. When I was a tech writer, I worked, really worked, maybe three or four hours a day. Now it's more like an average of 15 hours a day, seven days a week.

I love it. But I am running out of steam. I'll make it through the year, and I sure hope the few weeks I'm off for summer will be enough to restore me in time for next year.

Read more of Myers's article here.

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