I am tired. The end of the year fatigue that courses through my body makes it difficult to climb out of bed and force myself to go to work. All of the meetings, test prep, extra work, and stress has my weary bones aching for a break. And yet, I still teach.
Based on the grades given by the state, my middle school isn't very good. Apparently, it doesn't matter that we are a Title 1 school (because of the high poverty rate) and all that entails. The research that shows the struggles of schools in rural and high poverty districts has no bearing on the grades assigned or the stigma attached to schools like mine. My fellow teachers, administrators, and I work incredibly hard, and yet, we are made to feel like our best isn't good enough. And still, we teach and lead. Jobs, raises, and funding hang in the balance, all because of a score on a controversial test. The injustice of it all is enough to make a person sick. And yet, we continue to come to work each day.
Why? Why would anyone stay in a job where they are made to feel like a failure? We are all highly educated individuals how could make more money in other fields. We would have less stress, and actually be finished working at the end of the day. But we stay because of the children. Some of these precious souls face unspeakable situations at home. Some come to school only for a kind word or a quick hug. Just like anyone else, our young people want to feel loved and appreciated. They want to feel like they matter, and we as educators have the power to make that happen. Recently, students wrote letters for Teacher Appreciate Day. They shared messages from their hearts. This glimpse into their minds affirmed that what we pour into the lives of our students is more important than any test score or grade given by the state. We affect change on a daily basis, and this is why we teach.