Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Drawing a Blank

I've been sitting here, looking at the screen for the past 12 minutes, and I have absolutely NO idea what I should write about.

I've considered writing about how stressed I am about the upcoming standardized testing.  But, I'm so mad at myself for being stressed about the testing that I'm trying to avoid that.  I've considered sharing my weekend and how I spent several hours digging and raking to get my garden up and running, but there's really not much more to share than what I just did.  There's the trip that I'm taking with Peanut tomorrow to Jefferson City, but I really want to be able to discuss that on Thursday, after we've taken the trip.

There's so much going on in my life right now, but none of it is really "news worthy".  I've shared about the kids' sports.  I've discussed how much I've been gone and how little I'm getting to see my house.  I've mentioned how standardized testing is fast approaching, and I'm trying to keep my head on straight.

But, all of it is just the same old stuff.  Nothing new.  And, honestly?  It's boring the crud out of me.

How can I be so busy, stressed, and bored all at the same time?

And the worst part is that I've only been going at it for two weeks.  This routine is going to continue until the end of June.

I know that once MAP testing is over, I'll feel better.

Thankfully, this is the last year we have to worry about MAP testing.  Next year, we move in to using Smarter Balance.  Which won't really be any different in terms of stress control, but well, I can keep an open mind.

At the end of the day, I know that my frustrations and stress isn't JUST related to the test.  I won't try and pretend that I like the test.  I don't.  There's no way that a standardized test could EVER show how much growth my students have gone through or the obstacles that they've overcome.  It just barely gives a glimpse of what my kiddos are capable of.

No.  It's not the test.

It's actually the kids that seem to have just given up or have already checked out even though there's still over a month of school left.  And, it's not like it's something that's just started happening.

I don't know what could be more stressful or more infuriating than kids that don't seem to show much care about their education.  I never, in a million years, thought that having kids that have absolutely no problem not doing anything would bother me so much.  But, it does.  More than anything.

I've worked with some lazy kids in the past few years, but lazy has never meant uncaring.  Those kids just needed a little push, and may have been a little ready for the year to be over, but would NEVER just NOT do anything.  Some of the kids I have this year have ABSOLUTELY no problem not doing their work, making bad grades, losing privileges, and don't bat an eye.  Nothing changes.  They just go about their day, not doing any work, not caring about it, and it is really getting to me. What seems to make it a little worse is the fact that these kids keep getting handed excuses as to why it's OK to act that way.  Bad home lives, poor living conditions, language barriers... but when do the excuses stop?  As long as they are given an easy way out, why on earth would they ever try to overcome those obstacles?

I suppose the fact that it bothers me so much is a good indication of why I became a teacher.  Because I care.  But, sometimes I wish I really didn't care so much.  That I was able to turn a blind eye and let some of the kids continue digging themselves in to holes that would be harder and harder to get out of.

Anyone that knows me probably knows that's not possible.  No matter how much I've declared that I'm done caring, and that I'm done trying to push kids that don't seem to want to be pushed, I just know that somehow, someway I will continue trying to get these kids to understand how important their education is.

The problem with that thought process, though, is that the kids that DO care and DO work hard and DO everything they are asked to do are suffering because I put in so much time and energy trying to push the two or three kids that have checked out (or never really checked in).

If I had a dollar for every time I've stopped my lesson to redirect one of the kids not paying attention, or when I give one of them a heart-to-heart about how sad I am, or when I've listened to another excuse about why an assignment hasn't been done, or have listened to another reason WHY these kids are doing what they're doing, I'd be a VERY rich woman.

I have, honestly, gotten to the point where I'm on the verge of checking out and giving up, myself.  Just letting it go, running through the motions, and doing what I need to do to finish out the school year.  It's just taking too much out of me to care so much.  Plus, there are 15 other students in my room that need all of that energy.  They are more than happy to learn, do their best, and try and overcome any obstacle I throw at them.  And, I am going to try and convince myself that if I keep pushing the kids that want to be pushed, everything will be OK.

Just a few more weeks to go.

I can do it.

But, right now, I need to get ready for work.


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