My fourth full-time year as a public school teacher in Baltimore City. If you count my internship year at the Book it's my fifth. Most teachers quit before they get to five years. I think about that fact quite often. Of course this ain't like the old days when you could just quit a job and find another one...
Not that I'd quit--but I'd consider it. I always have this nagging feeling that I'm not cut out for this job. It's too damn taxing in too many ways. It's frustrating, aggravating, and overly challenging. I have insufficient leisure time during the school year, and can't keep up with my personal reading goals (or blogging), and I almost never watch TV or movies. Socializing? Ha. Team planning meetings, brief conversations in the hall between classes, and chats in the photocopier line are about the only interactions with other adults. Well, there are also parent conferences.
But you do get summers off. And the job has a lot of karmic debt reduction benefits.
I feel like I'm just getting my feet under me professionally, like I'm "OK" at what I do but getting better every week. My class was audited by some dude from the MD State Dept. of Ed and he apparently raved about my teaching. Word got back to me via my boss. That felt good. Some of my students showed pretty dramatic reading level gains this year over last, and that really felt good. And I have no fewer than 3 interns this trimester--one a Morgan State student getting certified to teach History (I'm mentoring a history teacher--how odd!), and the others MICA students who are keen to help me create arts-integrated content lessons. A few weeks ago I was thinking "how can you give me mentees!? I don't know what the fuck I'm doing!" Now I'm really excited to share ideas and show others the ropes.
When the State Dept. of Ed dude was in my room I was teaching propaganda to the kids by having them analyze Nazi posters and film clips without ever having seen a definition of the word. I made them puzzle out characteristics and similarities and determine the purpose of each piece of media, then had them write a definition of propaganda from the examples they'd studied. They came up with "a form of communication which persuades people to follow a cause or idea." Not bad! I only had to print the examples and queue The Triumph of the Will. Now I'll get them to see the deceptive, biased nature of propaganda more clearly and they'll be experts in how it works.