Saturday, October 22, 2016

I Can't Do This Anymore

When I became a teacher, I went into the job hoping to help students learn. I envisioned a class where I would share ideas, where I would help students build their skills and develop their own dreams. I was young. I was naive, but inside any good teacher is that kernel of altruism that resonates in ways I can't explain.

I can't do this anymore. For every student I have who really wants to learn, ten others (and their parents) are using intimidation and bogus special needs demands to game the system. I'm not talking about students who legitimately need assistance-that a whole different ball game. I'm talking about parents who make claims in order to get their kid more time on tests, more help on work, fewer questions, less homework. It would be one thing if they were in regular classes, but now we are encountering them in AP courses.

I teach an AP course. It is not easy because the test itself is one of the most difficult non-math tests AP offers. As such I have to teach 25,000 of art, teach students how to categorize and define artworks in terms of other artworks. We delve into every culture from Assyria to modern Africa and beyond. I spend around two hours a night making presentations. I post these presentations online for students to review. I spent three solid weeks eliminating unnecessary reading in the very intimidating AP Art History text. I spend evenings and weekends grading or writing assessments. I try to throw in things that are fun like Kahoot reviews and activities that can help students to internalize their learning.

But what do you do when a student lets a parent schedule appointments during a part of the exam and then refuses to show up during Block the next day to make it up? I waited all during lunch. I waited after school on the half day which is the end of the semester. The student didn't show up. The student tried to show up while I was conducting portfolio reviews with my studio class. I told the student to return after school was out but never showed up. What is galling is that another student-who is texting buddies with this one-is now claiming I didn't give additional time although he turned in his work well before the end of class and was given a chance the next day to do a different prompt-but left after ten minutes. I knew I should never look at my emails on the weekend.

I am so sick of this and what is more I HAVE NO OPTIONS. Thanks to the dreadful Obama induced economy and the additional burden of a husband who despite countless resumes and interviews cannot find a job I am really at the end of my rope. I hate this election. I hate this economy. It wasn't supposed to be like this. I'm working myself to death and then get snippy emails from young AP's who seem to do nothing to help teachers and always take the students and parents side. I can't do this anymore.

I just can't.

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