Wondering

Things about which I’ve been wondering lately:

I thought year two would be less exhausting than year one. It seems I was wrong. I know there will always be new preps, new students, new challenges, … but will I ever not be tired? How in the world do people who have children do this and do it well?

I recently began a master’s program. Our cohort meets one to two times a week for four hours a session (this along with homework and studying for tests is undoubtedly a contributing factor to my being tired). How do other professions handle continuing education? Is it up to the individual to do on their own time?

When I conduct PD sessions, I try to model how I run my classes. I have a variety of activities. There is time for individual work, small group work, and whole group discussions. I see very little of this in the courses I’m taking. Which is interesting, as they are courses designed for high school math teachers. What messages are relayed to the students (who are all teachers) about how we should teach?

Conversations are important. Conversations about goals and change are vital. However, at some point conversations are not enough. When is it okay to say “This situation is not working for me. I can’t settle for good enough. I want great.” and walk away?

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4 Responses to Wondering

  1. Richard says:

    Great teachers will always be frustrated with the situation they’re in–that’s part of being great, I guess.

    Some of my cohorts have decided to teach outside the US and are quite happy with the change.

    I stay here over the long haul because 1) I have some students that make it all worthwhile, and 2) I have some co-workers that would fight through hell with me.

    The rest you can ignore 🙂

    P.S. Grad school was a generally unpleasant experience. Live does get easier after a Masters.

  2. I generally found life to be pretty crazy through year three, and even after year three I was constantly making changes and reworking things. It gets easier, but it’s never a cake walk.

    I’ve found my graduate classes to mostly preach best practices while modeling poor practices. The last several classes I’ve taken were generally quite good, but I just can’t understand how professors who study and write educational research can live with the irony of their classes.

    As I’ve recently switched to a new school, I quickly found myself pushing for change in many areas. I’ve come to realize that I can’t let others’ reluctance prevent me from doing what I know is best for my students. I’m trying hard to stay a part of the conversation even if those I’m talking with have no interest in what I’m saying. I’m hoping that over time they’ll see the work my students and I are doing, and see the benefit.

    Keep working hard for your students. It’s not always the easy path, but it’s the right path.

  3. Clint H says:

    When you have children, priorities are different: It’s Sunday night, I have a pile of marking to get through and I haven’t looked at it once this weekend. Sure, I’d love to get through it but I have neither the time nor the energy on the weekend because that goes to my family…

    What you say about PD is so true: how can ‘experts’ tell us the merits of *insert pedagogy here* when they are standing in front of a PowerPoint slide filled with solid text placed over a standard template?

    @Richard, I work harder overseas than I ever did while in the US. 5 different preps, extremely high expectations from the entire school community (and myself of course) and a highly competitive atmosphere ensure that. Changing schools (and systems: British? American? International?) every few years doesn’t help it either. However, I don’t think I’d ever go back to working in the US…

  4. Jackie says:

    Richard I’m pretty sure I’m no where near great yet. I’m also glad to hear that things get easier after the master’s. Ben I’m not looking for a cake walk, I expect to be challenged and work hard. I just need a balance that isn’t happening right now. I wonder what I can change to get some semblance of free time, without sacrificing what I think is important for my classes and my students. Clint Do you feel that your teaching has changed since you’ve had a family? If so, how?

    @everyone Just to clarify, I’m not thinking of leaving teaching. Nor is the school at which I work a bad place. There are some good things happening there. Lately it just doesn’t seem like it’s enough.

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