Once you were younger and you decided to become a teacher. You took your classes. You did your practicums. You student-taught. You took your Praxis tests. You got certified and then started off your teacher life.
Yes, you were younger once.
Whether it was 20 years ago or just last August, you were younger and you just didn’t know all that comes with being a teacher.
You just didn’t know what it was like to manage a class on your own. And you didn’t realize you would not always be supported by administration for choices you are forced to make…or parents of students that would question your every move.
You just didn’t know what it would be like to keep up with planning deadlines, proving how everything aligns to standards, and making sure you have data-based evidence for everything you want to do… especially when it is for lessons that will change half-way through Monday because you are really great at monitoring and adjusting to the needs of your students.
You just didn’t know the struggles that some of your students would have. And you did not understand how so many of the things that they do, say, and don’t do or say can stem from what is happening at home…and how hard it is to balance keeping class running while dealing with those things…and the decisions you would be forced to make because of it.
You just didn’t know that people who have never been in a classroom like yours would cause you so much stress in and out of your classroom. And you didn’t understand how politics and bureaucracy would put up roadblocks and obstacles you do doing what is right for the sake of your students…forcing you to take a stand and fight battles that should not have to be fought.
You just didn’t know or not see how difficult it would be to focus on student learning because the measurable results would be more important to the powers-that-be than the actual growth of the learners from year to year. Standardized scores and data supersede what you know about students and what they need.
You just didn’t know. You were too young to know.
And you didn’t sign up for this.
You didn’t sign up work through this.
You didn’t sign up for the struggle to be the teacher you know you need to be.
You didn’t sign up for this…
But…you do what you do anyway.
You teach. You face the realities of your classroom, the education system, and the world. And you fight, you work, you teach. And because of this, you are slowly making a difference.
You might not be changing the system or the world…but you are changing the system and the world of each individual student that you show up for each and every day. It is slow, but you are changing things for him, her, and them.
Everything that you didn’t sign up for is worth it.
Yes, it is not fair…but it is what you do. It is what you are wired for…it is what you are made for.
Don’t give up hope! You are fighting a good fight. Keep fighting and keep on teaching, Teacher! This is what makes you awesome! You rock!