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The Battle for the Educator

by Rachael Davis 5 days ago in teacher

What life is like as a teacher...

The Battle for the Educator
Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

It's the first time you walk into your own classroom...

It's the first time you change school districts...

It's the first time you try to do something for the kids...

Then the door is slammed in your face.

Education is the field where we are supposed to be flexible and meet the goals required by our states and federal agencies. We have a desire to also see the children not grow up with the same issue we have faced as educators. Every teacher loves their students. Every student is like a part of a small family year after year that builds and grows into a lifetime of watching the children change. We all walk into our classrooms with gusto and fervor for the children. But all the political bulldrama and red herrings make the first year the hardest to survive and thrive.

The real hassle is all the different interpretations of what is ‘good teaching’. Some folks believe that strict rule adherence, and following exactly what is dedicated to by the district is good teaching. Others believe in principle autonomy but you have to be tied in with your team. Still others believe in complete autonomy. Some believe that the standards are the thing while others still believe the curriculum decides how well a child grows, and yet others fall in the middle somewhere. And that’s just within the schools themselves, let alone the differences between the districts and states, and then the national view.

And all this is decided by politicians. People who’ve forgotten what it was like sitting in the desks of schools. People who think they know more about life than those on the frontlines. Those who afford themselves cushy little desks. The larger the salary the more effective you are, right? Let’s just look at the school district. Top level administrators have $100k+ salaries as a MA/MD. Teachers after 30 years of service get into if not closer to the $100k salary. Usually they start off around $30k-40K annually with a BA/MA/ $60k if you’re MD. You’re also expected to pay for most if not all of your own supplies, and anything additional unless your district sets you up nicely. Both teachers and administration attend meetings, training, and are expected to keep a love of learning going. However, most training that is great is paid for by the attender. Summer breaks are spent recovering and training. Winter Breaks are spent recovering and quality time with family. It’s not just a 9-5’s restless nights. Nightmares. It’s also the time spent on lunches, breaks, before school, after school, on the drive home, and after dinner where you’re working on something or talking with parents. It’s not a just do the work and leave kind of job. With teaching, your heart and your soul go into it. There is a quote out there about how teachers make more second by second decisions than brain surgeons do in surgery. And people mock teachers for being exhausted and tired...and stressed. Have you tried to jump hoops while balancing fire in both hands, balancing a computer on your head and riding a unicycle?. Oh, and I forgot to mention you’re blind folded and your ears are plugged, and there’s a clothespin on your nose so you can only breathe through your mouth. That’s what it’s like to teach.

But they keep coming back year after year...

Some lose their flame. Some lose their heart. Some go crazy and lose their care. Some quit trying to change the system. Most, most forget they do this for the kids. They start bending to the policies that ruin education...they lose their game face and succumb to the iron lines that policies dictate. They’re lost in the sea of lines. Teachers, they’re not your average superheroes...they’re the ones who lose their powers, they’re the ones who fight without their powers, they’re the ones who struggle to see success when they themselves are not seeing success in their life. Do they become different? Yes, and that is the error and evilness of being an educator…

You’re either the dreamer who’s constantly assaulted for their hope in children…

Or you’re the slave to the system, who is feeding children to the wheels that don’t change but grind children into exact pegs to fit exact holes.

The challenge...who are you going to be as a teacher? The one who keep fighting for the hopes and dreams? Or will you be the one who joins into the factory lines and produce children who are robotic?

As an educator...that is our battlefield.

Rachael Davis
Rachael Davis
Read next: The Unconventional College Life
Rachael Davis

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