Haven’t Walked Away Yet

What She Wore: jean capris, pink tee that reads "Shopping is My therapy," pink plaid thongs with a drille heel.

The other day my husband said that I was a blog sell-out.
People come to your site to hear uplifting stories about teaching–not all this other crap.
Well, first of all, teaching is not uplifiting on a daily basis.  Second, it’s summer and there’s a not a lot of teching to write about.  And yet, I find teaching sneaking its way back into my blog today.  Since school let out, Mr K. will call me from time to time to tell me which teachers aren’t returning to shool next year.  First, it was the principal, next is was a really cool male teacher that everyody loved to be arond, then it was the head of the math department, and now, it’s the History teacher off my team (teams are groups of teachers who share the same students).  If you’re in education you know that this is nothing new.  Teachers come and go with alarming regularity.
I think that I am really shocked by this last one, though.  She was Teacher of the Year last year, but she’s decided to leave the profession.  This woman would be at school until seven o’clock at night.  She would organize amazing treats for the kids, and she would work through lunch.  I guess it all got to be too much for her.  I remember her commenting at the end of the year that her friends were concerned about the amount of time she spent working on stuff for school.  She is one of those community go-getters who came to the profession after her kids were grown.  She’d worked in schools as a seretary, and then decided to get certified in teaching.  She was an amazing contributor, but I suppose that now she feels that she’s given all that she can.
It’s not like I never think about doing something else.
But I’ve never received any accolades either.  And I feel like the kids really need me.  I worry a lot about teaching, though.  I wonder who will be left to teach our children.  Why is this profession so hard?  Does it have to be?  Are we doing everything we can to keep people here? Do we spend too much money on technology (as I type on my school laptop), and not enough on retention?  Is there really anything we can do, or is the profession hopelessly flawed?
This is not one of those easy-answer times.

About takedeux

In one summer I had a baby who was hospitalized for five weeks, quit my job, and moved back to my hometown. This blog is about starting over.
This entry was posted in Teaching. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Haven’t Walked Away Yet

  1. Sue says:

    I have no idea what the answers are.  I am not a teacher.  I have had to deal with a school district.  I have a child who needed help and was denied.  I have a child who is gifted.  I found the district we live in relies too much on the results of standardized test results.  If English scores are down, then they are gung ho on English.  When those scores go up, Math is down so then they swing that way.  I\’m out of the loop now, but I do know the kids need GOOD teachers.  Teachers who can teach.  Not just people with knowledge.  Kids need to be able to relate.  I wish I had the answer.  But I do think that even though these good teachers are leaving, new ones will be waiting to step in their shoes.  What do you mean by accolades?  Don\’t the kids like you?  If you are getting through to some of the kids, that is considered accolades to me girl.  Don\’t sell yourself short.
    : ) Sue

  2. barnyardmama says:

    I guess I should explain the comment–I\’m not saying I NEED accolades.  I just think that it\’s sort of amazing that a woman who\’s been honored by her peers would still feel like she needed to do something else.  I thought the questioning thing was just for us people who slog it out without praise.  Guess I was wrong.

  3. K says:

    Blogs are about everything and anything… not just about one topic… we are after all 3 dimensional people… our interests vary as do the topics of most of our blogs!  Thank goodness mine doesn\’t only ever involve astrology… my goodness it\’d be boring!
    As far as teaching is concerned – I wish I knew the answer.  It was at one time a prestigious profession and now you are under paid, under appreciated, expected to work to the bone for very little – other than the personal gratification of doing a good job.  TO some.. that is enough.  Accolades, albeit unnecessary, certainly help fuel the fire and the passion that keeps us going.  I got it… I never thought in a million years you were seeking praises…. its not in your character!
    Hang tight… continue doing what your heart tells you too and pray that teachers continue to make a difference in the world!
    Ciao bella,

  4. Nooner™ says:

    I\’m willing to bet your Hubby that I\’m not in the minority. I am one who admires you for your teaching stories, but equally enjoys reading anything and everything you have to say about the "other crap".
    As for the topic of the day and the series of questions, it made me pause to think of some teachers of a sort I was meeting with this past week. They were not teachers of a traditional school per se, but I look at them as teachers of a sort. They were the staff of a "vocational training center", in a suburb of Philadelphia, that has its workforce mentally and/or physically challenged indviduals. My younger brother is returning there on August 1st after a six-month respid trip to Canada to live with my older brother following the death of my dad late last year. My younger brother has Down Syndrome. We met with the staff last week to re-enrol my brother. I am always in awe of the staff of facilities such as these. The average employment tenure of the staff is perhaps 13 years or upwards. My brother has attended this "workshop" for twenty years or so and we have known the staff longer then we have known some of the "clients\’, i.e. the fellow workshop members to my little brother. I guess my writing all this down is to provide background and then to say my summation thought of all of this is that many "teachers" come to, or stay, at a locale because of the particular school or body of students and teachers that are at that particular locale. The existing body of teachers and the students you are working with are no doubt a key reason why you, KM, love your work at this school so much and choose to stay right there. Please receive my accolades to you personally, KM, and my appreciatioin to your profession for those dedicated to it.

  5. Kerri says:

    I tought High School Home Ec. for six years in 4 different schools across Kansas.  I had a wide range of experiences some good, some bad.  I could tell you what worked and what didn\’t at each school.  Besides the rest of the faculty, which was great at all but one school, the real difference came down to the administration.
    I believe the problem starts with the School Board.  They need to hire a Superintendent that represents the teachers to the board, not the board to the teachers.  They need to hire principals that will support their teachers, support the kids, and aren\’t affraid of common sense discipline.  If teachers had administration that really was there for them when it matters (discipline, not playing favorites among kids, better benefits-when possible, a pat on the back at the end of a bad day, etc.) teachers would have more time to do their job, instead of doing the administrations job.

  6. Sheryl-Ann says:

    You posed some very difficult questions here, KM.  I teach undergrad aged students and there are challenges there as well.  I think the problem might be in the general demise of our society and value system. The kids nowadays look at all the \’stars\’ that are rich and begin to wonder why should they be in school.  Maybe they could make it big without expending all this energy in school.  Today\’s kids want to be successful without putting in the necessary hard work.  This, in turn, makes it extremely challenging for teachers like you and your colleagues. After a while, it seems like you (in general) have nothing left to give and you feel obliged to turn to new opportunities.  In my opinion, the solution must come from the homes, or at least must begin there.  We need to instill better values into our children.  This has nothing to do with being rich or poor – it just has to do with teaching our children from the get go what is truly important in life. If they do not get that strong foundation at home, then the life of a teacher becomes doubly difficult and puts pressure on any school system to keep them.  I haven\’t even talked about the fact that teachers are overworked and underpaid………….
    Have a great day!

  7. Alicia says:

    Your profession is hard because you are dealing with a great variety of kids…and they all learn differently and have different needs.  I would say your kids are EXTREMELY lucky that you are their teacher!!  Where the hell were you when I was in school?  OH…that\’s right…you were in school too!!!  LMAO!!
    HUGS!!  :)~

  8. Unknown says:

    You deal with the hard part of life. Parent shuffle their kids off to school in hopes that the teachers will broaden their minds, and fill them with the knowledge that we are to busy to impart, due to working to pay the bills. We hope that each and every teacher will reach our child on some level that we don\’t, that they will see the light and some how realize their dream to grow up and be president, or change the world. Teachers are the backbones of our childrens future without them we would all be lost. Keep teaching, your are an unsung hero.

  9. Jo says:

    Wow, that was some powerful stuff.
    I started working at a University in April, as a secretary in the "non-traditional" student office (Center for Continuing Education). I have been learning as I go and some of the things that go on, I do not understand. For instance, we have a women in our office that worked as a teacher, a assistant principal at a High school and is a wonderful woman. She has implemented an Act 48 "hours"program, and the bomb came down from the Education department here at the U because it was taking away from their "credit" hours programs. I don\’t understand why people can\’t be on the same "team" isn\’t that what it\’s about? Helping everyone, not for the credit but because it\’s something you want to do.
    I do know however, in dealing with my kids, who the good teachers are and who are the ones that care and push the kids and laugh with them and truly help them. It sounds to me that you are one of those teachers. Parents know it, other teachers know it, the Board knows it, and even though some don\’t get the awards for one reason or another, I believe it\’s the small things. When a parent truly thanks you or takes the time to listen to your concerns or suggestions for their child or their progress as they are growing.  Or when the child truly "gets it". It must be frustrating at times and I as a parent understand that too.
    It may be that this teacher did those things in staying late and organizing because SHE wanted to and maybe her friends were the ones that pushed her into a different direction. It may be something at her home life also. If she is a go getter and in the community alot, she may be back around. Who knows maybe she\’ll be an adjunct or a sub.
    But in the meantime, maybe it\’s someone else\’s turn to make those amazing snacks!

  10. Unknown says:

    Tell hubby to get his little tenticles off your blog, it\’s for what so ever you would like to write about. Ehherm…I would like to ask him where is his blog?! (hehehehehe)
    I think burn out is in most jobs that take emotional toll. Teachers see children having hard lives, cops see drug abuse etc, shrinks see people w/ problems…emergency room doctors…etc…
    I think it\’s normal and most people know their limits. I also think it\’s good when people get out before they\’ve hit their "limit" and could do more damage staying "in".
    happy Tuesday!

  11. Sandy says:

    I agree with KB\’s comment. 

  12. Nadine says:

      I bet to differ…it\’s the shoes!
     I come for fashion tips and the shoes!
     and you are a gal with a passion for rum  and coke,
     and you talk with your hands,
     and occasionally there is that thing about teaching and Mr K……but it is summertime!!
    I love love rub a dub love those pix!!!! I realize they have been posted for a few days but I have been so busy that I haven\’t had but quick look at your space…and it was poop!! So I only had time to pick myself up off the floor and add a comment and didn\’t see the best photos ever!!
    There are those that come for your perspective on teaching….but there are those of us that like the other as well!

  13. Gina says:

    It\’s hard, sometimes you give your all and you are left with job burnout.  I think for a teacher, their hard work is not always reflected right away.  But then you hear that a teacher was someone\’s inspiration to do _________, that you really helped a kid with ____.  Good teachers are like a ripple effect.  Good things happen eventually when you give your all.  I always thought that teachers were the most important job out there, and many are very underpaid for what they do.  Why are we paying athletes all this money when teachers should be getting all that mula to teach are children. 

  14. melissa says:

    My mother was a janitor for what seems like a million years…then my father passed away when i was 14, she went to school and now is an E.S.L. teacher at a small school about 2 hours from me…shes been there for a few years…however every year, they tell her she may not have a job by the end of the year due to there just not being enough money…and every year they give her a contract for yet…\’one more year\’ …..she feels like shes being thrown around..she likes stability and because they wont offer her a permanent position…she doesnt have that stability and security that she really wishes for…and the funding issue in her school really needs to be investigated in my opinion..and hers..and everybody she works with..but thats a whole nother entry..hehe.."trying not to be a gossipper here"<—spelled wrong isnt it??
    sometimes she wonders if she made the right step career-wise, and then she remembers what its like to finally get through and help kids WANT to learn. and she knows that yeah…it was the right step…sometimes you find your calling in the hardest of situations……
    and one more thing…i LOVE YOUR BLOG…..anything you write is interesting…you wrote about poop and i was right here..reading word for word..hehe…
    **waving, and blowing kisses too!!!

  15. Big Dog Mom says:

    I come for the "what she wore" description and the pictures of the shoes.  Oh, and the teaching stories.  But mainly the shoes.  I agree with Nadine.  I love the pics.  Especially the "Katy and Puppy weird" picture  . . . I bet you are one very fun teacher.   
    Tell Hubby to MYOB about the blog.  We love you just the way you are!

  16. Jaysey says:

    You\’re not a sell-out.  Everything you write interests me. 
    It\’s tough because we (as society) make it tough.  I also think it\’s tough because those who are drawn towards teaching in the first place care so much…eventually all that caring can get to be too much…and people burn out–look for something a little less energy-sucking–a little less draining emotionally–otherwise they might just go nuts!  Same thing for social workers.  Just one in a number of possible answers.  Solutions?  Well, that\’s a whole \’nother bag of chips…although I agree w/ KB\’s comments on administration–I think administration makes all the difference in education.  A good administration leads to good and happy faculty, which leads to better instruction, which leads to better education for our students.It is utterly amazing to see the difference a change in administration can make in the quality of a school–on all levels.  Well, that\’s enough from me on that for now! 🙂
    PS: I\’m still waiting for the cute rainboot suggestion! 😉

  17. Unknown says:

    Good questions….but I don\’t have any answers.  I don\’t teach in the public school system.  Just wanted to say you\’re not a sell out. I come here because you\’re my good blog friend and I like reading about your life.  Not because I\’m just looking for inspirational teaching stories.  Tell him to go start his own blog and leave you alone.  Teee heee heeeeee!
    God bless : )

  18. Jaysey says:

    I have blog entry ADD, too.  I started this great  one on cohabitation–still haven\’t finished it…got sidetracked.  It\’s not raining  constantly any more, but we keep get those fun summer affternoon shower (that do nothing to calm the sweltering heat!).  But I\’ve always wanted a cute pair of rain boots I could wear to school and stuff.  Out here in "God\’s country," you ruin your shoes pretty quick when the sky starts leaking! 🙂

  19. CJ says:

    You\’re right.  There are no easy answers.  What a quandry.  A teacher who is diverse in her interests can only add color to her teachings.  In that respect, her students are more apt to retain that which she teaches.  Not only that, it makes her a blast to read for the rest of us! 

  20. KEL says:

    No easy answers, but I think that teaching is no easy job.  Blog-land is not you being a "sell out" its about being free to write what is you, whether it be teaching or simply \’poop\’.  What you write is interesting, someone elses take on life is interesting and its always a nice feeling to know that you are not alone in the world…that even though you may question your "normalness" sometimes, we really are not as crazy as we think.  Maybe that is what makes you such a great teacher…you can relate which gives you the ability to reach the kids. 

  21. WINDOW LIVE says:

    The education system needs to be rehauled in this country.  Teachers are under paid and I have no idea how they stay motivated teaching children how to take tests.  In my opinion that is what it has come down to.  I have had to deal with the worst of teachers since my children started middle school.  The administration is horrible so the good teachers left.  I hope you continue to stay motivated, Moms and teachers have the most important jobs. Without them we wouldn\’t know how to read or tie our shoes.

  22. Becca says:

    Teaching has to be one of the hardest jobs to do in America. It is so thankless sometimes. I don\’t know how you do it. Such long hours, the committment, the low pay, I don\’t know why our government doesn\’t pay you what you are worth. If they did and you were rewarded appropriately I would wonder if more qualified teachers would stay?

  23. Julie says:

    That teacher you spoke of who resigned…  I just think it\’s a shame.  You know, there are SOOOO many different ways to make things better.  I think part of the struggle is that for public education, we have to ask the public to fund it.  Everybody thinks education is important.  Everyone agrees that we need good teachers who care about kids and are willing to take the extra time & put in the extra effort to make a difference.  But very few of those people would agree it\’s important to fund it.  I dunno.  Tough questions. 

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