Today’s Afternoon Pages entry addresses this very question in homage to Sonia Nieto, who edited the book Why We Teach Now. That book is an incredible testament to why teachers at all levels of experience have decided to enter and stay in the classroom for their entire professional life spans. Read it. Grab a box of tissues first.
I’m still here, too, though there were definitely a few times (and every year, a few days) when I wasn’t sure I would be. I’ve journaled off and on since high school, and a recently I found an old journal where I wrote about how just wasn’t sure how much longer I could do this job. It took me straight back. I was teaching Senior English at the time, and you know the score: if you don’t pass, you don’t walk in graduation. Every year, some students didn’t; no matter how much I cajoled, came in before school to provide extra support, met with them in one-on-one conferences, they just didn’t do the work. And even though, progress reports went out every six weeks, some parents were inevitably “surprised” at the end that their little darlings would not pass.
One year, the parents complained to everybody and god that I was unfairly treating their son, thus the dreaded conference with them, the principal, the counselor, the ass’t principal and me where we were laying everything out on the table and I was making my case.
Let’s just say I left in tears… (TO BE CONTINUED).