Summer is over, which means kids are back to school (and parents are rejoicing).
I’m still at home.
I’ve completed paperwork in several districts. I’ve applied for teaching positions. I’ve emailed principals and called them on the phone. I’ve reached out to friends who have suggested jobs and let me know of openings in their orbit.
I filed for unemployment the other day. I’m going to try to get a teaching job for another few weeks and then…
I’m trying not to think about the rest of that sentence.
I’ve done a lot of soul searching as I’ve contemplated if I’m a good teacher and if I even want to continue teaching. And along the way–as schools continue to ignore me, as my friends go back to school without me–I’ve made a list.
47 Reasons I Can’t Find A Teaching Job
I haven’t been hired because…
My classroom has never been Pinterest-worthy.
I don’t fit the prototype of size 2 perky blonde girl that some principals want for their schools (the kind where everyone on their website looks the same).
My years of experience mean I’m more costly than other (coughyoungercough) teachers.
My multiple degrees mean the same thing. Double whammy.
I consider data to be a four letter word. Figuratively as well as literally.
So are words like grit and rigor. I don’t think a word that is normally used in conjunction with the word “mortis” should be used to describe lively, inquisitive children.
I don’t hang up a data wall.
I think it’s wrong to stress kids out about what reading level they’re not on or how many letters they don’t know yet.
I consider growth of any kind to be important, even if the benchmark isn’t reached.
I know the stages of language acquisition for my ELL kids, and I know that what they need most of all is time.
I know they all need time, regardless of artificial testing deadlines.
I have yet to see the importance of littering my walls or white boards with “I can” statements–especially when young students can’t even read them.
Because I don’t see the value, I’ve been known to leave the same “I can” statements up for days at a time. (And by “days” I mean “weeks.”)
I think that time putting on coats and gloves and time walking in the hallway should not count as recess time.
And bathroom breaks should not be called a loss of instructional time. (Last time I checked, adults get bathroom breaks. Why can’t kids?)
I consider play to be important. All day long.
I read to my kids. A lot.
I read to them so much that I can recite some books from memory.
The workbooks we get at the beginning of the year often sit on the shelf all year long.
I give my kids time to read every day. I’ve been told it’s a waste of time. I disagree.
I love the sound of them groaning when it is time to put their books away.
I don’t think the world will end if kids get to play games and use manipulatives to learn instead of having to write down an explanation for every math problem.
I care about who my kids are as people.
Sometimes you need to deviate from the lesson plan, and that’s okay.
Believe it or not, I like field trips.
And I find them valuable.
I love teaching science.
And social studies. (Even if it won’t be on a test.)
I don’t consider an iPad a teacher.
Sometimes the low-tech version is just fine.
I’m not the kind of teacher who is valued these days.
I’m an active union member in a right to work state.
I attend school board meetings.
I ask questions.
I think for myself.
I know the problems are bigger than my school, my district, my state.
I know the game.
I don’t want to play the game.
And I don’t play the game.
If you tell me about mandate XYZ in a meeting, I’m going to need to know why it is so important.
And then I’m going to need to believe mandate XYZ is really important.
But usually I will stay quiet in the meeting and go back to my room and close my door, ignoring mandate XYZ.
I often have a target on my back.
It’s easier to silence teachers like me rather than stand up for what’s right for our children.
….But really, it boils down to this:
Because sometimes the bullies win.