Confession and Commitment
Test results are coming out across the country, and it is a time of intense reflection. When confronted with lower than expected test results, some people blame the tests. Some people blame the system. Some people blame the kids. For me, it’s just time. When you are doing the same thing long enough, it’s easy to get burnt out. And with burn out comes a slow lowering of expectations. In my case, this came in the disguise of work/life balance. I started doing less so that I could spend more time at home. I wasn’t being selfish, I just thought I knew what it took to teach and could relax a little bit. I didn’t realize that one of things it takes is a feeling like what it takes will never be enough.
That is why I am so grateful there are standardized tests to let me know when I am starting to take the backward slide. I am also wary of standardized tests because I think a few years of good results made me think I had this job down.
More than anything I am grateful that there is the work of other teachers out there to remind me what is possible and exactly how hard it is. That is why I plan to spend a lot of time observing other teachers in rigorous, high-performing classrooms this year.
I suspect that everyone feels like their job is uniquely difficult, but man, isn’t teaching so hard? If it is not hard, it is not being done right. But that is also what makes it so rewarding.