There’s a ton of static out there, trust me, I know. Between the realities of the job, the public persona we fight against, the needs of the students, parents and admins, and underneath it all, the constant fear and uncertainty created by these nebulous standardized tests.
Anxiety is part of the job, if you’re doing it well.
We’ll get into some of that noise in a bit, but first and foremost, I want to explore what your responsibilities are, what they are really.
When most teachers sitting at a dinner table are asked why they do what they do, we may contemplate some deep, heartfelt answer, a story about how we were molded into the person that decided to dedicate our lives to this peculiar and masochistic lifestyle.
But mostly, we say we do it for the kids.
Simple. Seemingly self-explanatory, right? It feels good, helping someone else. It’s a necessary feeling for teachers.
It’s also mostly BS in the worst way possible.
Many of us are simply sick of the question. We’re done having to explain to a person who really doesn’t understand why we do what we do, ask us the questions behind that question:
“What’s wrong with you?”
“How can you deal with a job like that?”
“Why would you sacrifice all that school for a fake career?”
So the stock response is mostly to get the person to stop asking questions. To get them to stop asking us to justify our chosen career. And so, the conversations typically ends, with a slight smile, and a sip of beer.
But there’s a really big problem with all this: The answer is designed to end the conversation, but it is the right answer. Not only that, but the answer itself has very real consequences for kids, and the way we should be teaching.