I am a teacher, and I am tired
By Savanna Kucerak
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
-- William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”
I am a teacher, and I am tired.
Tired of coming home every night angry, abused, and insulted.
Tired of being treated as a child, as a robot, as a steppingstone for politician$ and publi$hing companie$ to make more money.
Tired of ignorance littering the air: “the Common Core is an exciting time in education!” or “APPR is just showing off the wonderful work you already do!”
Tired of being told to “wait it out,” that the “pendulum will swing the other way eventually” while witnessing the casualties pile up – causalities with names and dreams and futures and the RIGHT to the BEST EDUCATION we can give them.
Tired of being afraid to stand up for what I know is right for our kids and our country because I am afraid of losing my job and being unable to pay my bills.
Tired of my superiors being afraid to stand up for what they know is right for our kids and our country because they, too, are afraid of losing their livelihood.
Tired of wanting to be better, volunteering to do additional work, and watching helplessly as any progress I have made is brushed aside by the newest educational reform acronym.
Tired of being told, “Ohh, sorry, but my hands are tied,” accompanied by a half smile, a shrug of the shoulders.
Tired of spending hours of my life documenting and sorting and filing instead of revising and learning and improving.
Tired of wasting taxpayer money on binders and tabs and computer paper and ink.
Tired of being a taxpayer, watching as my money is spent on binders and tabs and computer paper and ink instead of STUDENTS and STUDENTS and STUDENTS and STUDENTS.
Tired of paying my student loan bills and nostalgically remembering that I chose to be a teacher, that I wanted to teach, blissfully ignorant of what lay ahead.
Tired of my two degrees and experience and individuality being ignored and devalued.
Tired of knowing what’s best for my students, but being told NOT to do it.
Tired of telling the best and brightest young people NOT to be teachers – and meaning it.
Tired of being told that if I love literature, then I’d better choose another profession.
Tired of Googling “what can I do besides teach?” only to close out of the browser every time, knowing there is nothing I’d be better at or love more than what was formerly known as “teaching.”
Tired of living in a country where my dream job no longer exists – where “teacher” is now synonymous with data-collector, test-prepper, script-reader, automaton.
Tired of grappling with the notion that I now have a job instead of a life or even a career.
Tired of disillusionment poisoning even the best of days.
Tired of telling my students that they will be heard if they support their arguments with evidence, yet knowing in my heart that that is a lie.
Tired of worrying about my own future children, who will either be numbers under this developing “educational” system – or dealing with the wreckage of a failed, expensive national tragedy in which all of the best teachers have either abandoned this sinking ship or remain on board as empty shells, whispered voices, gasping for air.
I am tired, but I am still here – and there are many of me.
Join us. Say something. Do something.
Our collective future depends on it.