Today we railed against a schools policy that fires young, idealistic teachers instead of old, bitter teachers. This is a bad policy! Well, sort of a bad policy. It's complicated. Sometimes young idealists aren't the best teachers, explained a former young idealist.
I am a teacher. And three years ago, I was a young teacher. (I feel like a veteran now. A literal veteran. Of WARS.) And that young teacher did EVERYTHING for those kids. If they didn't understand, I'd stay after school to work with them on my own time; I devoted myself to creating a fascinating, engaging curriculum every day. When the school inevitably ran out of toner, paper, markers, staples, etc., halfway through the school year, I bought my own, out of my own pocket, never to be reimbursed.
But the problem with that young teacher was that I cared. Too much. I took very little joy in the success of my students, but every failure felt like I'd been stabbed in the heart. I'd agonize over how to reach the least engaged, the lowest performing, and my classroom lessons became ever more elaborate, my free time reached zero, my out of pocket expenditures skyrocketed.
And then one day: I stopped caring. Well, I cared. But I just stopped taking everything so damn personally. Some kids are assholes. Just like grownups. Some of them will NEVER do the homework. Some of them will never speak in class, and I can only do so much to fix what their parents have so completely fucked up. And honestly, the second I stopped taking it so personally, I became a better teacher. Because the focus returned to conveying information effectively, instead of becoming a basketcase who turned her classroom into a carnival of the lowest common denominator to reach the couple of kids who could've broken my heart forever.