Tuesday, February 11, 2014

This is familiar

And I'm officially overwhelmed again.  I'm seriously questioning if this is actually what I want to do.  I think I still want to teach, but I don't think high school is the right fit.  Maybe I really should be an elementary school teacher, despite my complete 100% resistance to it.  Or am I just questioning this because, in fact, I don't have what it takes to be any kind of teacher at all, no matter the grade level.

I don't enjoy teaching psychology.  I love the material, but I'm pretty sure I would only enjoy teaching the material to students who give a crap.  I don't have that.  Well, I might have about five that give a crap.  The rest are just disruptive.

And then there's classroom management.  I feel like all the forums online and the classes I've taken just talk about "Classroom Management Strategies" without ever giving specifics.  "Spend time on classroom management", "Classroom management is key", blah blah blah.  I need specifics.  And the literature is either heavily focused on elementary classrooms, or the theories are based on the assumptions that my students have any desire to be in school.  There's no managing a student who literally sees you as zero.  Maybe even less than zero, it's like I'm not in the room.  And if you get more than one of those students in the same class, that's the end of any meaningful learning.

Oh and let's talk about learning.  I don't feel like I've taught them crap.  It's defeating.  Trying to explain abstract concepts, or ask tough questions, or get them to think critically on an issue, the response is always the same:
                               "What's the right answer?"

They literally ask that.

So what do I do?  I mean, obviously I'll finish out the year, but what about next year?  Am I up for this again?  Do I just cut and run and say, well that was an experience.  I've learned and I'm over it.

Until I figure this out I just feel overwhelmed and helpless and completely defeated.


Jessi said...

Oh, sweetie. I hate to see you struggling with this. Psychology on the high school level is hard because you're never going to have a majority of kids who care. Or get it.

But, I think I speak for everyone who's ever made it through high school when I say that you are getting through a lot more than you think.

And there's this: my high school psych teacher was Coach Hicks. You can't possibly be teaching less than that. :)

I hope things get better.

Sleep Goblin said...

I'm so sorry love. Even Rob feels this way about getting through sometimes, and he's teaching graduate students, so they presumably all want to be there. But I can't imagine this level of struggle. One of the reasons we chose to move out of the city was due to the school system there. Everyone says you have to do private school in the city, because the learning environment is so so bad in public schools. My chiropractor told me that he was invited to speak to the students in a health class one day, and they didn't even stop talking to each other or put down their phones the entire time he was there. And he was flabbergasted that the teacher didn't reign them in, but the teacher was like, "this is just how it is. sorry dude."

So the fact that you're even trying is a huge, because it seems like most teachers in that situation just stop. This is why people say they hope to make a difference in just one student. But I agree with Jessi, I'm sure you're getting through more than you think. Even if most of your students never fully grasp what you're saying, something is sinking in, and it will change the way they think about things down the road.

I have several friends that are teachers. I'll poll them about tips on classroom management for you.