Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Is It Worth It?

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark. In the hopeless swamps of the not quite, the not yet, and the not at all, do not let the hero in your soul perish and leave only frustration for the life you deserved but have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists; it is real; it is possible. It is yours.” –Ayn Rand from Atlas Shrugged
Lately, I have been wondering: am I really cut out for teaching? Okay, so maybe I have the ability to be a great teacher, and maybe I am already doing the best I can and making a strong impact on the lives on many sixth graders who need me. But am I REALLY cut out for middle school? Is sixth grade where I belong? After student teaching 10-th and 11th graders, these sixth graders seem like babies. They are immature, loud, and sometimes out of control. They are emotional, hormonal, and disrespectful. Do I deserve to be treated like I sometimes am? The question I keep asking myself is: IS IT WORTH IT?

The quote I chose to head my blog post today is from Ayn Rand, a talented author. I will admit that I have never read Atlas Shrugged, but it is on my list. I need to make time for it, but it's kind of, sort of, REALLY big, so maybe I'll tackle it over the summer. I did, however, hear the quote on One Tree Hill a long time ago while Dan was in Basic Training, and it has stuck with me ever since. I decided that I needed to use it when I figured out what I'd be writing about.

To get back to my original topic, I am trying to decide what to do. I only have two more years in Colorado until Dan graduates from the Academy, we get married, and we move away. Maybe staying at the school I'm at for two more years is worth it. Maybe I am making a bigger difference than I am able to see. Maybe these kids NEED me more than I know. Maybe I need them too. But every morning when I wake up, I dread going in, and my stomach forms knots knowing that I am going to be treated like dirt all day, even when I enforce a strict discipline policy inside my own classroom. When I get home in the evenings, I feel RELIEF, a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I can relax and not worry about death threats from 12 year olds. It's ridiculous that I even have to worry about that in the first place. Should I stick it out and keep doing what I *thought* I was born to do? Or should I search for, apply for, and interview for many new jobs again? I have already spent so much time doing that in the past two years out here, and I can't imagine going through it again. But unless I can figure out a way to be treated with respect, I am at a loss. I WANT to help them out. I WANT to make a difference. I WANT to teach kids who need it the most... the ones who don't have any support at home... the ones who have no stability in their lives aside from school... but the looming question is whether I can make it through two more years of it and stay sane or not.

I'm not looking for an answer from anyone. I wrote this post for myself. I needed to get my feelings out, and I'm shocked that I am posting this publicly. I want to believe that the quote I opened with is true... that the world I desire can be won. What I desire is to MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE as a teacher. I know I have the ability to do so. I know I currently am for many. But why does it not feel as good as it is supposed to?

(Can you tell I've had a rough week so far?)


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