I haven't mastered the art of smiling and nodding or saying the right things when they aren't really true. It would help me if I could BS with the best of them, but I'm too earnest. I strive to keep it real. I see no point in acting as if something is going well when it is not.
In a few days, I will be asked to reflect on a professional development experience. I will have to leave sub plans and go to a meeting where I will feel like I'm on the hot spot to share my thoughts on how things are going. After 17 years of teaching, after thousands of my own dollars spent on books to enrich my students learning as well as my own, after classes taken to grow, after being the facilitator for professional experiences...I will be asked to justify my teaching to those who are not and have not been classroom teachers for some time. Those who have not had to teach real children in real time as I do, every day.
I should be fine with this. Right?
I should not feel the tears already starting at the idea of being judged for not meeting the impossible standards set.
It is so easy to tell others how to do something but so very difficult to put it into practice yourself, day after day, with real children who have real problems and need instruction in every area of the curriculum.
Theories sound wonderful until you test them out with real kids. This is when teaching can bring you to your knees. A pace that never slows. A day that is full of lessons you need to plan, assessments to give, assessments to grade, parents to communicate with.....its all part of the job. But what hurts the most is when people who don't do the njitty gritty of this work are hailed as experts and tell the people in the arena, with the blood and sweat on their faces, how to do it better. Sitting on the sidelines, filing their nails while you are getting whomped in the ring.
I wish the curriculum experts would give those props to the teachers who do it all everyday. I wish they would say, "I know you are balancing so much and working so hard. I want to help you and make it easier for you to teach this one area that I have spent so much time understanding and perfecting."
I wish after 17 years of working so hard I wouldn't feel the way I do tonight.
Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski