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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Teaching Is Going To Kill Me

Last night I got five hours of sleep. Sadly that is typical for a school night as I diligently attempt to juggle the demands of grading (while providing thoughtful comments for each student), phoning parents, lesson planning, designing bulletin boards, getting supplementary books from my public library, shopping for supplies at Staples for, writing IEPs, collecting and analyzing data and attending professional development classes. 

I'm afraid to go to my doctor because of what she will say to me about my weight and blood pressure.  
During quality review week, I suffer from lower back pain. During state exam month, I get headaches and diarrhea. In general, I don't have time to exercise or even to cook while the Sword of Damocles dangles over my head in the form of teacher ratings, school report card grades (that's right my school gets graded), letters to file, teaching observations, quality review and more. Over the years, I've gone to school with a sprained ankle, a twisted knee, a bulging disc, laryngitis and colds of various levels of severity. Many, if not all, of my colleagues do the same.

In the early 1900's, unionized workers fought against exploitive employers who forced them to work long hours with little time off in unhealthy circumstances. Workers were literally dying in unvented, unsafe, poorly lit, deafening factories. More than one hundred years later, I work in a dirty building with bed bugs and lice, mouse droppings, banging radiators, flickering buzzing PCB lighting, and no air conditioning for approximately ten hours each day (6:30am - 4:30pm). My reward when I get home? Another three to five hours of work preparing for the next day.

I won't die in a headline-garnering tragic fire at the "factory." I'll die at home from a stroke or a heart attack but all the same my death certificate should say, "Cause of Death: Teaching." 


  1. Hang in there summer is on the way! Then you can fix up on your property, go to PD, and maybe look for a new job if you work in one of these "so called" reform districts. You can also feel extra unappreciated because everyone knows teachers do nothing all summer and on weekends...crazy!

  2. Please do not do this yourself! Find time to relax and be you, not a teacher. I had to learn to do this, still working on it as a matter of fact. (Papers to be graded are next to me as I write this LOL).Take care of yourself!
    "Teacher, Heal Thyself!"

  3. I also agree with Lisa and Eckert and must say that you should give sometime to yourself before making such a big decision. In case you make this decision without thinking about it again and again, you may have to be ashamed of it.

  4. I've decided to quit after 15 years. Honestly, it's not worth my life anymore. It's not worth your life either.

    1. I'd love to hear what you decide to pursue next and how you feel about your decision... 12 years in and I've been contemplating leaving..

    2. I'm really excited for you. Even in the "best" schools it's a daily nightmare - filth, sickness, stress and more stress. Twelve years in as well - trying to put together a plan to get out.

  5. Grade things the day you get them. I see teachers all the time who say they are stressed with grading papers and continue to check their facebook for an hour. The least stressed teachers that I have met grade papers and tests immediately and have the rest of the day to do whatever they want. I have a US History Honors teacher who grades whole written responses and tests for 2 classes (50+ kids) in one night and does the same the next night for his other 2 classes. Its bad enough to be lazy, but to blame your profession for it and make excuses for yourself is even worse.