0023: Burnout or Crossroads? Where am I and where do I go?
I am concerned that I’ve become better at talking about teaching than being a teacher. I am plagued with constant doubt of my practice, and my motivation. I do not see myself as the same teacher I was when I started. When I started I taught in a districts “worst school”. The students were violent, the gang problem was out of control, and the kids were the greatest challenge to reach. I managed and thrived there. I felt like I was an amazing teacher and all I was doing was holding on for dear life. Those kids impacted my life greatly. They’ll be graduating this year.
I barely knew anything then. I wasn’t cynical, I was eager. I had a fight for the kids mentality. We were fighting an unfair system together. We engaged in amazing conversation about community and fear and hope. There were times was terrified. A kid brought a sawed-off shotgun in the first week. No one was harmed, but it scared me. Scared my wife too. Kids couldn’t read, they had been put in that school as a dumping ground. But, the teachers there were dedicated. The principal was die-hard. I was bound and determined to succeed.
The kids I teach now face the same problems the kids I taught then did. I just feel half as effective. Half as motivated. I sometimes feel I’m going through the motions. I know tons more about the theory behind teaching. I have more experience. I’m more educated. I’ve done consulting work and written quite a bit. I’ve had myriad opportunities to help other teachers, and blah blah blah. I’m only applying what I know half the time I think. I’m barely here the other half. I have moments when I’m an amazing teacher. I have amazing moments when I’m working with other teachers and the find themselves awakening to new thoughts and ideas in their own practice. I help them reach the genesis of new ideas. I enjoy that. I feel like the teacher I was when that happens. And those moments happen in my classroom, I’m just barely aware of them I think.
I understand that I’m evolving, but I don’t know how. Where do I go from here?
- educatedtodeath posted this