Lots of students have been asking me if I like being a teacher, and more often than not the not-so-silent-but-silent undertone of their question is "Why the hell would you choose this job?!" My answer is usually "most days," but lately I am feeling like it's about a 50/50 love/hate sort of situation.
I could sum up my frustration in one sentence: I HATE that students will do anything to avoid thinking. Being my 5th year teaching high school, I've seen many students trying to get around that aspect of their education. I get that not everyone is going to be a nerd like me and WANT to learn. I get that biology isn't the most exciting class for everyone. I get that slapping students upside the head with a ruler is wrong, and something I must avoid at all costs. But there are days. Sometimes weeks, lately. Days and weeks where I want to throw in the towel and pick up some job where I can escape my frustrations and NOT THINK! hmmmm...
BUT, thinking is important. And essential. And fun. I work so hard putting together fun activities, presenting information in many different ways, showing relevant film and articles, putting together thought-provoking and interactive webquests, crafting assignments and labs that make them think and are hands on...
What about their end of the deal? When will they take accountability? The wheels are spinning out in my brain trying to conjure up ways to get students to THINK, to teach them in a way where they are no longer leaving the analysis questions blank, to change their habits in a way where their first instinct is not to look to their neighbors' papers for the answers, to not be happy with barely passing with a D, to take pride in their work, to study in a way where they don't have to do eenie-minie-moe for the majority of the test questions, to not jump so quickly to google "examples of mutualism" after I just shared definitions in their notes and pointed out examples in articles they have in front of them, and to realize how stupid it is to turn in the same work as someone else ESPECIALLY when their answer to the question "Based on annual precipitation and temperature, what biome would you like to live in next March?" is DISNEYLAND. This has escalated in such a way where it's not just a handful of students throughout the day, or a few students in each class...it's the majority of the students I see day in and day out.
Where does this start? At home...in the community...in the media...technology is in your face with answers for everything. Thinking is lost. Ugh. I used to be a great speller. I got 2nd place in the 3rd grade spelling bee! (I botched it, intentionally leaving off an 'F' in giraffe to win the 2nd place prize of a microscope.) But my point is that I now suck at spelling. I rely on spellcheck. No thinking. Oh my goodness. I am tapping into something bigger than the rant/venting session that I had set out to indulge in. (AH! I JUST SPELLED IT ENDULGE!)
There are just three more days until spring break. I can make it. I am in desperate need of relaxation and recharging my patience and energy levels. Balancing life as a teacher and a mom and a wife is hard stuff. I need to fly to Michigan and hug my mom. (She did an amazing job at this tricky balancing act!) I need time to brainstorm and ready myself for the homestretch of the semester. In three days I will be basking in the love of my family and friends in Michigan. I really can't wait!