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This Year.

May 12, 2022

On May 09, 2022, my senior English students graduated from high school.

In 2021-22, I had the largest class sizes since I began teaching in 1991.

Our school had a substitute teacher shortage, and to compensate by not missing school and sending my students to the cafeteria or gym or to another teacher during planning, I only missed part of a day in the spring to deliver the eulogy at a friend’s funeral. (Not all teachers could keep such a commitment, and I fault none of my colleagues for their absences. We should be able to take the leave we are allotted.)

My seniors were also juniors during the pandemic, which means they had less exposure to writing a research paper. I walked them through our research writing assignment one section at a time, meeting with each student individually. Doing so spread me very thin, but the one-on-one time was necessary. I ran out of school year and had to rush the end of the assignment by modeling the writing of a generic introduction and conclusion and explaining why I included what I did in this model eye-to-eye, one-on-one, to each individual student, knowing in essence these were my final words to each before our time together came to its end.

This year, I feel like I worked the hardest and most efficiently to teach less than enough. Combined with the requirements of caring for my aging mother, I walked a fatigue tightrope, I kid you not.

By God’s grace, I end this year okay mentally, physically, financially, and spiritually.

I wish I could have done more for my students.

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5 Comments
  1. Christine Langhoff permalink

    Many, many teachers wish they could have done more for their students, Mercedes. But who could have done more for you and your colleagues?

  2. speduktr permalink

    Make sure you take some time to rejuvenate. It’s too easy to fill the summer with “school.”

  3. Jen permalink

    In my school, the overburdening for the last month has been testing. None of the tests have been timed, and some of the kids take 3, 4, and 5 hours to complete each assessment. This digs in significantly to all other academic time. At my school, it’s the epitome of people who “do too much.” Delusions of grandeur about being able to do “this special activity” and “that special activity” abound. I kid you not, in addition to testing, I’m collecting money and permission slips for 4 different activities right now. Oh, and I’m supposed complete my input for my own evaluation. AND, two of our “specials” classes have been canceled for the rest of the year (that started two weeks ago)… which means, I don’t get two of my planning periods each week. No break on Tuesdays or Fridays. Throw in the drama and trauma that many of my students are trying to cope with (and I put their social-emotional issues before academics… I had to make THE phone call this week, too – abuse issues). I’m toast. I, unlike many of my colleagues, say “no” to a lot of extra-curricular activities. I know I get looked down on for not doing as much, but I’ve needed to keep strong boundaries to keep my own health intact (mental, physical, financial, and spiritual). But if I’m honest, my mental health isn’t all that great. I’m depressed. I want out of education.

  4. Your students are fortunate to have such a caring and competent teacher

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