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The Great Awakening

One might think it strange to read that, despite the looming FCAT test dates for 9th and 10th graders (most of my students), I would find myself feeling as though I am awakening from a fog that can only be likened to the kind one feels after having slept for a long period of time.

When I decided to become a teacher, all I envisioned were the 7am – 3pm days…happy smiles on the faces of children who enjoyed learning and did quite well at it.

Nobody ever told me that this profession is, perhaps, one of the most time-intensive and mentally grueling of any that I could have chosen.

As a mother, I had no idea that learning did not come easily to children.  My own babies were in advanced programs and seemed to struggle very little with academia.  I couldn’t understand the hullabaloo about FCAT because my children easily scored 4’s and 5’s each year.

And then I became a teacher…

Of struggling readers…

Who are also at-risk students…

Who come from unstable homes.

That’s when reality set in.

Teaching is a profession that calls for 12-16 hour days.

It is a profession in which your mind never turns itself off, and you find yourself thinking about a lesson plan when you hear a line in a sermon (my pastor compared the show Once Upon a Time to a Christian’s complacency in the church…even using the word metaphor).

It is a profession in which you write down ideas by the light of your cell phone during movie previews in a crowded theater all because you saw a trailer that sparked your imagination.

I just completed a survey put out by my state’s department of education.  It asked participants to rate the effectiveness of the educator preparatory institute the participants had attended enroute to certification.

The survey left off a question…that is, “How well did the program prepare you for the percentage of your heart that you would give away?”

There’s no way any program or even another educator can effectively do this.

The more I’ve learned about teaching these past three years, the more I’ve grown to accept that between the months of August through May, my brain will stay mushy, and my head will live in a fog that consists of swirling thoughts of learning styles, personalities, assessment results, and learning benchmarks.

It is only toward the end of the school year when a teacher finds him/herself coming out of that fog, awakening, if you will, and discovering that a non-teaching world exists and that yes, there is a semblance of a “regular” life that can be led in the after-hours of a school day.

That is the point where I am currently residing, and please forgive me for saying this, but I am LOVING it.

I know that I’ve given every effort to prepare my students for FCAT.

I know that I have much to learn and will certainly improve over the years; however, I can sleep soundly knowing that I did things better than the year before.

This great awakening is good for me and my students.

They get to see a side of me that is a bit less stressed…a bit more go-with-the-flow.

This does not mean that we will be watching movies until the end of the year, for Mrs. Auburnchick does not run her classroom this way.

My classroom will instead be transformed into one that is not dictated by a government-mandated pacing guide or a VAM (a teacher’s performance rating based on student achievement).

That, my friends, is something to celebrate.

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3 Responses

  1. And, people with “real jobs” don’t understand why teachers need (& look forward to) their breaks!

  2. Yes! Celebrating is in order!!!!! Please send this to the governor and the legislators – they have nooooo idea what a teacher really does!

  3. This a a great post. Even though I have been retired for nearly 8 years, I remember the long hours and the “extra duties” like monitoring the concessions stand (cleaning, purchasing and stocking and even popping pop corn), chaperoning dances, selling tickets and working crowd control at athletic events, and fund-raising that added even more hours. Teaching is mentally and physically exhausting.

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