We’re pencil nubs. Burned-out candles. Overdrawn bank accounts.
We’re teachers… with nigh-on nothing left to give. Out of ideas, resources, energy… everything.
Without those, we can no longer engage or awaken — and without engagement, without awakenings, we can no longer educate and inspire.
Our effectiveness is gone. And we don’t know why… although we have our suspicions.
Is the pandemic to blame — with its ensuing lethargy? Or the parents and their increasing laxity? Or the powers-that-be and their never-ending lists of demands and all-consuming blame?
So many obstacles are stacked against us and our backs are against the wall.
And we’re tired.
Tired of juggling classes and assignments and grading and meetings and all the rest of all the things. Tired of doing our jobs and then our colleagues jobs, too, because there aren’t enough subs. Because teachers are sick — or their kids are sick. Or they’re sick to exhaustion and need more than a single night’s sleep to recover.
We aren’t recovering.
We’re doing too much and carrying too much and caring too much.
Because that’s what we do. We care. We’re empaths. It’s the nature of our job.
We feel for our students. We ache for our students, who also are suffering under the weight of all the things. Pandemic and parental struggles. Poverty and violence and loss. So much more than ever before.
And so our students aren’t keeping up — not with assignments or attendance or… anything. And it falls on us to keep up with it all. And it’s impossible.
But we try. We keep smiling. And doing. Carving out kindnesses from our very souls because all the other cupboards are bare… scraping our hearts and sharing the scraps with our depleted, dejected students.
We fake it, trying to make it. But at some point — and soon — nothing will be made… no progress; no achievement; no benchmark of understanding. No eye contact, even.
We already aren’t seen by anyone. Not the students. Not the parents. Not by the public or the politicians. We’re heaped under the avalanche of everyone else’s agendas and told to stay strong.
Stay? That ship sailed a long, long time ago.
So I guess we stay… what? Weak? Exhausted? Underwater. Under-seen. Undervalued. Under pressure.
The pressures of trickledown education.
Where we’re crumbling beneath the weight of doing it all, but are we accomplishing anything?
It doesn’t feel like it.
And something’s gotta give.
And it can’t just keep being us. We’re “give” out.