Although I’m not a quitter, lately I feel like giving up. Despite Herculean efforts to accomplish things, I more or less find myself even further behind. Somehow I’ve gotten so far behind I’ve even lost sight of the starting line.
This latest foray into what I like to call my "Middle Age Angst” comes smack dab in the holiday season which I normally find uplifting, fulfilling and, in many ways, inspirational.
I thought maybe I would feel better if I at least got caught up on issues in the EduSphere. After checking my Google reader for posts from my favorite bloggers, I even ventured out to take a sneaky peak at what some of the educational pundits were yakking about.
I started to read Washington Post education writer Jay Mathews’ column, “Five reasons why I am a bad education writer.”
But instead of reading, I spent more time pondering the rationale for publicly listing one’s failures especially in these uncertain economic times. Obviously Mr. Mathews must not be Catholic, or he would have made a speedy quick trip to the confessional instead of his keyboard for absolution.
In addition to squandering time contemplating Mr. Mathews' motive for his soul-searching, I got to wondering if I could come up with a funny list of “Five reasons why I am a bad teacher” since I needed a post for my blog. But after staring at a blank computer screen for longer than I care to admit, I couldn’t, not because I am the perfect teacher, but because, quite frankly, there’s really nothing very funny about a bad teacher or administrator unless you’re watching The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Teachers.
So instead, I opted for taking his list of shortcomings and re-purposing them as things that make teachers, shall we say, less than stellar.
No. 1...Spending too much time fulfilling all the political and administrative edicts that slice into time better spent preparing for class. Mr. Mathews says something about “ideological battles,” but I don’t really know any teachers who have the time to wage one of those. I think I’d rather just shut my classroom door, crank up AC/DC's "Highway to Hell," and plan my little world.
No. 2...While Mr. Mathews bemoans the fact that he doesn’t spend enough time on parents and students in crisis, I think most teachers have that covered. Teachers spend a disproportionate amount of time on parents and students in crisis. Not to diminish the need to address and meet those needs, I still often wonder about all those "regular" kids. You know, the ones who go to school, more or less do their homework, study for tests, behave in class. They never get the special field trips, the gift card incentives, the do-overs or the extra attention that their struggling peers do. Some will say those kids don’t need all those extras to flourish, but I often wonder if that is true. And that doesn't even factor in the gifted kiddos. In fact, some education experts point out the serious ramifications that will face us as a nation if public schools continue to shortchange our gifted students.