I found an old blog post in my email–something I meant to post on my blog but never did. I don’t remember anymore what it was about, but the date does tell me which batch this was.
Draft saved at Saturday, July 28, 2007
Health Hazard: Teaching
What my friend tells me is true: teaching DOES age you.
This is my fourth year as a grade school teacher, and as young as random people may think I am, to my students and friends, I am well over thirty years old.
I exaggerate, but at this point in my life, I can feel the truth in the “teaching ages you” statement. Being around such young minds, molding them, guiding them, and honing them may seem like the perfect anti-ageing product especially after testimonials from veteran teachers who swear by teaching’s promises of eternal youth, but I realize that physically, you’re going to look a whole century older than what you look like now and emotionally, you’re going to feel like you’ve just experienced a million deaths in the family, and a million heart aches.
Just a few minutes ago during homeroom, I gave detention to some of my advisees. It was heartbreaking. Some are used to it and don’t seem to care, but you see in their eyes a glimmer of disappointment. Are they disappointed with themselves, or with me because I gave them detention even though they knew I hated doing it? I pray that they’re disappointed at themselves so that they realize their wrong and take responsibility for it. There are others who are openly crushed at the sight of their name on the detention slip, and that breaks my heart. While I know that detention is meant as a corrective and formative measure, I still feel sad at the fact that I still have to send them to detention even though I see the remorse in their eyes. I know they’re sorry, so why do I have to give them detention? School policy.
I spoke with a few of them before sending them away and I was on the verge of slapping them into sense. “This is your umpteenth detention!” I wanted to scream at one student. “Why won’t you learn?”
Frustrated at not being able to get a decent answer, I handed him his detention slips (yes, PLURAL) and wrote a note to his parents expressing my concern. I can only hope for something good to come out of it.
Teaching seems to be a thankless job, like the countless ones here in the world except that there’s technically a day set aside for the appreciation of teachers. Nevertheless, with all the work, headaches, heartaches, stress, and papers to check (yes, it deserves a category separate from “work”), it’s no wonder that a lot of people leave teaching after only a few years.
The draft ended there. I don’t remember anymore who these students were to whom I gave detention, but I remember that feeling of frustration.
I still feel it until now.
Today’s reflection on this old post (January 5, 2017)
I think I’m burned out. The frustration is slowly being replaced by indifference, and this is dangerous.
I’ve read all the “do these before you burn out from teaching” articles, and I’ve done most of the tips there, but right now I feel the same way. I even took a spiritual retreat to see if I could recharge that aspect of my life that I had neglected in hopes that it would transfer to my professional life.
It lasted about a month.
How do the teachers who’ve taught 20 or more years stay sane? or at least sane enough to still be qualified to teach? (<–lame attempt at a joke).
I need answers.