“Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world.” Growing up in Alabama you learn to memorize two things – Bible verses and quotes from the greatest coach to walk the sidelines – Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Many of The Bear’s quotes focus on quitters being losers (google it). Apparently he hates quitters. I do not blame him.
This time last year, I was DONE. I was ready to quit teaching all together. I hated getting up in the morning and going to work. I hated being in my classroom with the kids. I hated ALL OF IT. All three of my classes were nightmares. Now I will admit I missed the first 3 weeks of school because of maternity leave, but three weeks shouldn’t make that big of a difference. These kids did not care. None did homework. No one studied for test. Once in the classroom, they did not take notes (I taught math last year, so notes were kind of important), they cussed at me, only a choice few even brought their books to class. I eventually gave up. I no longer tried to reach these students. The day that was it for me, I had a student turn in a test that said “F*ck you Mrs. Dykes, U ugly” I was done. All year I worked so hard to show these kids respect and I never got it back.
To make matters worse, the parents were worse than the kids. I had parents lie, set up gossip groups that focused on me. They constantly called my administrator. They would lurk outside my classroom. It was the worse situation I could imagine. I had one mom verbally attack me in front of the school/other students three times before her child was removed from my classroom.
To add to this, the entire spring semester I was working on my thesis for my Ed.S., a constant stress on my shoulders. My pedagogy was out the door. I have no desire AT ALL. It was also my tenure year (In AL you work in a school system 3 yrs, then you get tenure – job security), that’s a huge stress in itself. I also had a newborn and a 3 year old – enough said!
Luckily (after begging and pleading) I did not lose my job. Deep down I kind of wanted to, but the fear of finding another one was too scary. I was torn as to what decisions to make concerning this year. To be honest, if I did not have two kids, I would have walked away from the entire profession and never looked back.
Why I stayed: 1. My co-workers. I have some of the greatest friends/family here. They are a huge part of my life. 2. I was given the opportunity to teach a totally different subject, it felt like a clean start. 3. I hate being a quitter, why quit a profession that I once had a passion for.
Staying was the best decision. This year has had its ups and downs, but all in all I’m back to doing what I love. Two of my classes are mature enough I can use mostly problem based learning techniques (the only way I knew how to teach when I graduated from undergrad). My kids get to use my number one passion – technology – as much as possible. This year has reminded me why I became a teacher. Do I have my dream job? No, but I’m happy with where I am right now.
One more quote from The Bear that describes this past year: “There’s a lot of blood, sweat, and guts between dreams and success.” I think I could add tears to that…