I've taught for several years now and I've never started a school year feeling like this. Usually I'm so excited the night before the students come to school that I can't sleep. This year I feel sad and defeated. I think "it" is catching up to me.
"It" is the deep understanding that I am no longer educating my students. I'm training them. Training them like god damn seals. Training them to merely pass exams and that is not what I signed up for. It was not acceptable for my child. It should not be acceptable for these children but there it is.
There is little, if any, talk at my school about the need to shape our students as human beings and I feel sick about it. Schools for wealthy students gear their instructional year around themes such as tolerance, giving or courage. My school is planning to meet once a week to compare one week's test results with the next week's test results (as if learning/understanding is linear). We have no meetings scheduled to discuss emotional growth. We will not be discussing improvements in demonstrable generosity. Nor will we work to develop leadership skills. There is no time to care about the whole child anymore and that makes me wholly sad.