Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Balancing the Insanity

The last 5 weeks can be summed up in one word: insanity.
This year started my 20th year of teaching and it was the first time I truly felt that the educational system was failing my students and myself and that perhaps it was time to walk away.  Last year I decided to change grade levels after having taught 8th grade social studies for 18 years.  I went to 9th grade World History and honestly, there is not a whole lot of difference between an 8th grader and 9th grader until about March.  Now I will be honest and tell you that history is not high on the priority list in school systems.  Math, Science, and English are all that matters....I mean history is totally literacy based and if you don't know your history, your doomed to repeat the past, right?  So, I definitely see why the powers in the educational system would rate history as low subject on the totem pole.....losers.

Perfect example is all the core subjects in 9th grade at my school had 2 teachers.....except history.  That meant I was teaching history to the whole 9th grade expect the self-contained special ed. students.  So just a quick break down...... I teach six, 40 minute classes of Modern World History and each of those classes was averaging between 40 to 50 kids and 2 of the classes contained special ed inclusion students. The new "contract" said no more than 30 students in a classroom. Sure glad math is one of those priority classes.  Quick math....low end I had 240 students and it fluctuated as students transferred in and out the first weeks of class.  I am in a large urban school district so there is a lot movement those first weeks of school.

I was coming home everyday exhausted. I was not teaching, I was controlling a crowd because by fire code regulations, my classroom should only have 35 students max at any given time. The paper work was just a tragedy, I barely knew 30 kids by name by the third week, and getting another history teacher seemed to be falling on deaf ears but my principal and union were pushing hard for it.....I was reminding them daily how many kids I had......ok, I was annoying, relentless, and a total B for 5 weeks.   

To say that I my sanity was slipping away from me is an understatement.  In 5 weeks I felt like I had been teaching for  months already.  Then the light came and last Friday my principal came to my room and introduced me to the new social studies teacher.  I didn't know who to hug first so I hugged them both at the same time and then I told them I would be back in time for Christmas Break.  This past Monday my class sizes were cut in half and I started to be a teacher again.  When I come home from school now the animals don't run from me .....I was kinda like a crazy woman for the past five weeks and I noticed my head stopped spinning like I was in some horror movie.  And now when I see my pretty Fall mums I don't look at them like I want to pop their heads off and stomp on them.

I do still hear voices in my head.....but they have been there for awhile and know me so we are cool.
After all...... my favorite time of the year is right around the corner and I am kinda batty at times;)


Angie- ALSO's Cakes, Pastries and More said...

I am glad they finally were able to hire a second teacher- that is crazy and not fair to you or the students that they dumped all of that on you!!

Camryn said...

Very glad they listened and finally saved you. Can't even imagine. If it makes you feel better my youngest son LOVES History and has History as one of his degrees as does my prospective Son In Law. Actually all my boys & nephews are History buffs. See, kids do enjoy you're classes lots.

Sharrie said...

Things are bad and getting worse in WI schools now. I am so glad I am retired. I cannot imagine how you must have handled having such large classes. I guess I was lucky. Very happy to read that the situation has chanced. Wishing you a productive rest of the school year.

(Just another old middle school social studies/English teacher)

Kristi Z said...

Good to hear from you! You know the district...just gotta shake it off. And honestly, I have some really good kids this year so I am glad I can get to know them now:)

Most of the students are interested in history, its just a shame how "administration" can ruin things. Glad to hear you have fans in the family!!

If I could retire now, I would go in a heart beat! Public schools are such a mess. I really loved 8th grade but I just couldn't deal with the way the district I am in was directing the middle school grades so I knew I had to leave before my mouth started to run.....;)