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 Post subject: Being a teacher sucks
PostPosted: 10 Mar 2014 17:42 
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I don't even know what went through my brain that made me think teacher was an acceptable career choice.

I mean, yeah, I'm extremely good at understanding ideas, and how ideas fundamentally fit together in correlations and causations. And yeah, understanding how ideas fit together so well I'm also extremely good at recognizing in another person the faulty perception that is causing them to understand something poorly or to have difficulty learning something. And I guess I'm also extremely good at verbalizing that difficulty, at taking their misconception and making it plain and simple and easily understood, and telling them how they can rebuild their understanding to something more coherent and correct, and fit the pieces together into genuine knowledge. So I guess in that sense I can understand why I decided to become a teacher - I'm just really good at teaching people things.

But fundamentally, I am diametrically opposed to the school system, and to being an active member within the system. I am existentialist libertarian with strong mormon tendencies. That means that I have a very deep-seated belief in the ability, nay the unalienable right, of all humans to make their own choices and to suffer the natural consequences thereof. It means that I recognize in everybody, even the most obscenely ill-behaved student, a basic level of worth simply because they are a conscious, sentient, autonomous being; and therefore I recognize in them a basic right to enjoy the free education they have been given just as their peers do. And being so good with ideas, I see how the education system undermines that with every single fiber of its being. I clearly recognize that it is an education system that is fundamentally antagonistic to human beings as autonomous choosers. An education that actively seeks to break people down. And I hate inefficient bureaucracies, especially government ones.

And it is a constant struggle to operate within this system. I have two choices - I can actively fight it (because passivity is an acceptance of the system), or I can put aside my ideals and actively perpetuate it. There are no other choices. And each has its hardships.

If I actively fight it, I am actively against my superiors, and they make it quite well known that they recognize my resistance and are attempting to fight it. I open myself to censure, punishment (both formal and informal), and belittlement, and make the future of my employment uncertain. I am constantly told (both explicitly and implicitly) I'm not doing a good enough job, though I'm never given anything but the most vague suggestion of what I'm doing wrong, let alone how to fix it. If I actively fight this system, I am fighting a culture even within the students that tells them, "I am not worth anything, I deserve to be punished because of my actions, I do not deserve an education, I never have. WTF is this teacher doing refusing to punish me and keeping me in class? People who care about me send me out of class. People who care about me isolate me. People who care about me belittle me. It's been this way since Kindergarten. This teacher clearly does not care about me. If she doesn't care about me, then I won't care about her, and I will make her life hell, and I won't learn this material." Students have rationalized and internalized the features of a system that tells them it cares about them while constantly undermining them as human beings, and therefore anybody who actually treats them with legitimate respect for them as human beings does not show the characteristics of somebody who cares.

But if I actively perpetuate the system, I am ignoring who I am fundamentally, ignoring who I believe children are fundamentally, and becoming perpetually and undeniably unhappy. One of my professors once told me something that has stuck with me for six years, and that has solidified and intensified my desire to always do the right thing - "The vast majority of teachers who burn out, burn out because they choose to ignore their values, their morals, their systems of beliefs, in order to function within a school system without conflict." I know that if I actively perpetuate it (and I feel this every day that I give in and just decide to do what everybody else is doing, just because I'm tired and it would be so much easier), I become immensely unhappy, and my feelings of self worth nose dive into an abyss.

And the worst part is, I am burning out. And I can't tell if it's because it's too overwhelming and too exhausting to actively fight the system to often; or it's because I give in too much and ignore what I know to be right in order to make the day a bit easier.

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PostPosted: 10 Mar 2014 21:11 
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I know this is coming from a kid but I think just be your self, fight for what u believe in. If they don't agree, screw them. Ask why they think you are doing poorly; if they can't answer that, I have no fucking idea what there problem is. When I make mistakes in this clan, it is pointed out to me so I can fix it. I would definitely talk to your coworkers and superiors

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PostPosted: 10 Mar 2014 21:51 
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Yeah, in theory redman that should work. Except for them here, they would rather fire you for questioning authority AT ALL, then actually answer your questions and do something about it. Its way more work to fix it, then to just continue fucking up the system. I don't know how it is in other parts of the country, but at least in this state its just pointless. They force you to give up anything remotely good about being a teacher and do it "their way" because some fucking stupid book that someone higher up in the district read and it said this was the proper way.

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PostPosted: 10 Mar 2014 22:08 
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I definitely think that there is a bit of a state barrier on this topic

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PostPosted: 11 Mar 2014 01:38 
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I definitely think that there is a bit of a state barrier on this topic
Also, you can see the flaws much clearer when you are done school and reflecting on it, or observing.

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PostPosted: 11 Mar 2014 06:40 
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because some fucking stupid book that someone higher up in the district read and it said this was the proper way.
Yeah right. I'd be surprised if anybody higher up in the district has read a single book since I've been a teacher.

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PostPosted: 11 Mar 2014 12:59 
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The only advice I could give you would be to leave that school and to try and find another one. Unfortunately, I don't know what the education system is like where you live so i have no idea what other schools are around, what they believe in, and if it's viable to work there.

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PostPosted: 11 Mar 2014 13:17 
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I can't leave for two more years.

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PostPosted: 11 Mar 2014 17:27 
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I can't leave for two more years.
This reminds me of a speech my friend gave about the evils of teacher's unions in our high school speech class. Many of the teachers are afraid of the union leaders and their power, so they don't speak up against it. They put in rules that give all the benefits to tenured teachers and provide BS fodder rules like transfer period to avoid too much competition. Too bad the speech teacher was also the head of the teachers union, she gave him a D and said, "know your audience." I thought it was ironic and proved his point further.


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PostPosted: 11 Mar 2014 17:39 
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Haha that's pretty horrible.

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PostPosted: 15 Mar 2014 18:15 
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Amaroq -

If you are looking for input, would you mind providing as many specific examples as possible that relate to your frustration. What do you feel you are forced to do specifically? What do you want to do? What have your superiors said to you? And remind me what grade you teach.

If you are not looking for input, and purely wanted to get that off your chest, then never mind.


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PostPosted: 15 Mar 2014 18:35 
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I really just wanted to get it off my chest, lol. I've found that most input I receive starts from the standpoint that situation is actually better than it really is, and my perception is just pessimistic, and really there is something I can do to make it better. But all of this is a lie. The system is fucked up, and there is nothing that a little teacher can do about it. I work in one of the largest districts in the country, both in terms of geography and population, and every single decision is made for me at the district level by people very far removed from both my needs and the needs of the students I teach.

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PostPosted: 15 Mar 2014 20:32 
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That's definitely different than my district. The meetings are held in a building 150 ft from my school.

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PostPosted: 15 Mar 2014 20:43 
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I really just wanted to get it off my chest, lol. I've found that most input I receive starts from the standpoint that situation is actually better than it really is, and my perception is just pessimistic, and really there is something I can do to make it better. But all of this is a lie. The system is fucked up, and there is nothing that a little teacher can do about it. I work in one of the largest districts in the country, both in terms of geography and population, and every single decision is made for me at the district level by people very far removed from both my needs and the needs of the students I teach.
I don't believe you're the only one. I am not really in a position to comment on what this whole situation is like as I am relatively uninformed, although I do know you're not the only teacher who thinks this. Due to my field of study I've been associated with people who have worked in school districts, teach, and most of all try to find methods to better performance etc. One of my current professors taught in HS before going to grad school and hated it. She didn't appreciate how she was controlled and had little input on many decisions. She also didn't really believe she was teaching her students the best way, rather moreso based around doing well on standardized testing. When discussing this she noted it wasn't truly helping them learn/apply, and this went against what her goals were. I guess that could be somehow debated though.

Ill be brutally honest and say if I was ever to teach it would probably be higher education for a reason.

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PostPosted: 15 Mar 2014 21:32 
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Yeah, after my five years are done, I'm looking to either teach at a community college (I'm not good enough for a university) or a private college.

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PostPosted: 16 Mar 2014 06:59 
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What happens if you're forced to move before your 5 yrs are up?

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PostPosted: 16 Mar 2014 09:17 
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Then I can get out of my contact. It's pretty lenient in that regard, but it comes with an amazing stipend.

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PostPosted: 16 Mar 2014 17:56 
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Well I understand the need to just vent. I'm sorry to hear about your frustrations and hope they are alleviated at some point.


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PostPosted: 27 Mar 2014 18:46 
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Amarok you're doing something with your life that most people wouldn't even consider because of all the hard work that comes into play whenever they would have to teach somebody just keep doing what you're doing cause you're doing great you're going to change people's lives in whether they know it now or 10 years from now they will know that you had a part in that and that's a very important lessons for anybody to learn is the people that they commonly overlooked are the people that look out for them the most

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PostPosted: 27 Mar 2014 19:54 
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Thanks man

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