Posts Tagged ‘quit’
Part Four of Four in my series on my two master teachers.
My master teacher consoled a fellow student teacher, and I overheard him:
Never live too close to where you teach, especially when you start out. You sometimes need that drive back home to decompress.
I need the drive home, too. Teaching his classes is regularly frustrating. It’s an uphill battle against some students who never show up. Against some who do, rarely. Against those who are there every day, and immediately enter their 55-minute coma. Against those who are awake, but insist on avoiding work at any cost.
Against some of the rest, who know I’m nothing like my beloved master teacher.
He writes his lessons on the fly, and without much preparation. He knows which copies to make for which week, and he doesn’t usually put together handouts. He believes: Keep It Simple, Stupid; work smarter, not harder.
Students might do a textbook inventory, looking for people, events or vocabluary in the book and placing it in the appropriate spot on a timeline. Students might read from his copies of the TCI curriculum, and do the TCI activities. Students, given their parents’ permission, might watch Schindler’s List as half of the Holocaust unit.
These plans are easy to write, and they’re effective.
I don’t know if his compliments have any perspective: He hasn’t had a student teacher before. He did tell me me that I’m ahead of where he was as a student teacher, at least in terms of knowledge of the material.
Hanging out with the kids was the easy part for me. It was the subject that gave me trouble.
My skills are inverted from him, and so I have a long way to go.
Part Two of Four in my series on my two master teachers.
One master teacher is laid back. The kids love him. He quit last year.
One of our high school’s administrators lives near his house, and was, over time, able to con him into joining this year’s staff. He signed a new contract, in this new district, at the last minute.
Why did he sign? He loves kids. By itself, loving kids couldn’t and wouldn’t sustain him through a year of teaching. It made the difference when he had teetered between signing and not signing the contract offered him.
Back during his first marriage, there was a student. This student had a bad boyfriend, a bad father, a bad uncle. Read between the lines. He offered this student his couch; she took him up on it for months. Even after she moved into a stable apartment, he helped her get back on her feet, get her GED.
My theory: That’s why he signed.
This is his first year teaching at our high school. He had been frustrated from his ten years at his previous school, as a basketball coach, and in his fewer years as an athletic director. He does not coach basketball here, and he isn’t an athletic director.
In the classroom, he is still a basketball coach.
Raw charisma fills his classroom. When he’s there, students won’t notice the bare walls or broken desks or unkempt whiteboards. They notice him.
I knew he would be that sort of teacher as soon as I met him. It was the first week of December. I introduced myself. Firm, confident handshake. Bellowing baritone. His pastiche of adolescent humor.
When I teach fifth period sophomores, I don’t teach my class. I teach his. If he ever removes himself completely from his classroom, I supposed I’ll float around the vacuum he leaves in his place.
He told me once:
Two years ago, I decided that I was done teaching.
He came back.
There are plenty of reasons to stop teaching. Joel posted ten, and though it the post was undoubtedly an April Fool’s joke, half of his over-the-top suggestions were credible on some level. Talk about irony.
Among them were:
Administrative hoops I have to jump through
TAKS testing. Lesson planning. 504 modifications. I like my principal (and all of them I’ve worked for so far), but the administrative web that has been set up from the top down really wears on me.
Budgeting. Fundraising. Travel requests. Purchase requisitions. Grades. Tardy admit slips. Report cards. Progress reports. Music stores coming to collect instruments from kids whose parents haven’t paid.
I am not valued enough
I don’t get paid nearly what I am worth. In fact, looking at some of the data on Jonathan’s blog, I don’t get paid even half of what I might get if I taught in New Jersey or California.
Setting aside his explanations, I’m told that plenty of teachers drop out for those basic reasons or some very similar. To quote the only teacher mentioned throughout the article linked in my sidebar:
The kids were wonderful to be with, but the stress of everything that went with it and the low pay did not make it hard to leave.
There’s the big debate about whether schools could, or should, be run like a business. I’ve certainly worked for some businesses that would drive a school into the ground.
On the other hand, I’ve experienced some business models that would make a school flourish.
He goes into greater detail, so I suggest you check it out.
Confidentially, my first reaction involved TPS Reports. As far as my dad and stepmom are concerned, former cubicle crawlers that they are, that Office Space movie is, or can be, the gospel-honest truth.