This chart has proven to be accurate and although my spirits are low, I am going to hold out hope for that surge of rejuvenation starting in 2016. I’m feeling a little more at ease with the five days off I’m currently enjoying, but I know that sense of dread will come Sunday night and I know I have to start a long week back with tough kids in an inner city district.
The first year of teaching is holding back no punches when it comes to weak spots and sucking away my drive. I have some bonds at the school I’m working at—but being as they are seasoned teachers in a different subject area or have different age groups… I feel very alone. I have peers who work at other schools who graduated with me in the art education program. Their experiences all seem about the same. Rough. They are unsure of who they are, if it was worth the stress and strain to get this degree (or even the money put in!), and if they’re going to make it through to see May.
Unfortunately, I have learned very quickly that “specialists” (a term I truly hate) are not considered real teachers. They hold the same weight as a sub does when they take over a class for a day. It’s next to 0. Sure, there is an adult in the room but does it matter? There are still some hard working and excited kids in my classes. They keep me as sane as they possibly can (without even realizing they are doing me the favor of participating and taking time on their artwork—even if they claim they have no artistic skill). There are too few of them to combat the ones that ruin their classes, though. It only takes one kid to ruin a period but when it’s about ¾ of your entire class? It becomes glorified babysitting or refereeing a boxing match.
I am scared that my SLOs will not show the 1/3 growth that they are looking for because trying to teach is very difficult. I get nothing of value done. I’m not sure I even teach anymore. I’m worried all my informal walkthrough are going to be viewed as horrendous and my formal evaluations will take a huge gash in my weak reputation and I will be without a job before the school year is out.
I know that I am in an inner city district. This population of students comes from backgrounds I would have no knowledge in. No personal experience. There are students who are there one week and no longer there the next. I have lost how to show them I care about them even though they have a tendency to make me frazzled. I can’t reach them all—I know that. Art is not a cure all for everyone like it was for me. I can put up with the non-workers, but add that to their distractive behavior and I’ve lost the whole class. It is a losing battle.
I signed up for the Disillusionment Power Pack, receiving emails from an educator who had felt the same things as me. It’s nice to know I’m not alone but it’s still a very alienating feeling. Grading the minimal projects that get turned in makes me feel like a failure. It’s like something that I’m sure is stamped right on my forehead and everyone can see it.
I’m hoping 2016 brings a real resurgence of energy and optimism that I so desperately need. I’m also hoping the job market is a promising one so I can put my energy and skill elsewhere.