Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rubber rooms and strait jackets

I was scrolling through when I stumbled upon this 2009 article from The New Yorker. It's a long article, and I got so horrified with everything written in the article that I stopped half-way through reading it.

I suppose I really should read the whole thing. But when I say I'm disgusted with everything the article talks about, I mean EVERYTHING. Both sides. All sides, all parties involved and some parties that were not involved, but could have prevented the current situation anyway.

I haven't been this saddened or disappointed at the American education system - no, at humanity in a very, very long time. I am disappointed in my fellow teachers. I am disgusted with the teacher's union. I am ashamed of my government officials - both the elected and non-elected kind. This is it. This is the cycle Professor L talked about.

But what to do? What to do? What can I do among all this mistrust and stubbornness? This agenda seeking, politics driven mess?

And this is quickly edging out my previous #1 fear of the teaching profession. It used to be that I was afraid of burn out. Afraid to be that statistic, getting higher by the year: of one in five teacher quitting teaching by their third year. I had such a plan to protect myself from burn out - exercise, sleep, not taking work home with me, not hanging out in toxic teacher's lounges, weaning myself from talking about work outside of work, taking breaks, being vigilant about my personal well being.

I'm still afraid of burn out, but the fear of being found incompetent, of not meeting the TPE standards, of my skills and my knowledge and my work and the effort I put in not being enough. Good Lord, I hope I see those signs and remove myself from this profession before it gets too serious. Because burn out and being observed as incompetent can sometimes be the same thing. Really, who on earth makes good decisions when they are physically and mentally exhausted?

Still, there has to be a better way. There just has to.

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